VOGONS


First post, by duboisea

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Recently I have been on a hunt for a good PCI graphics card. I have a Socket 7 with a 233 MMX and 64 MB of SDRAM. My goal was to play late DOS Games (Doom, Heretic, Hexen, Blood, Wolf 3D) and some Windows 95 games (AoE 2, Quake 3 and Dark Forces 2)

I tried all of these GPUS, and all had different issues.

* Radeon 9250 (Didn't POST)
* Voodoo 3 (Poor picture quality in DOS games)
* Geforce FX 5200 (Issues in DOS games)
* NVIDIA Riva TNT2 M64 (Poor picture quality in DOS games)
* ATI Rage 128 Pro (Didn't POST)

Early on someone accidentally sent me a G450. I have come to really love this card. It has great picture quality, runs cool, Windows 95 drivers work great and VGA/DVI output. So if you are in the market for a PCI graphics card for your Win 95/98 check out the Matrox G450. They are affordable and I am really happy with mine. Quake 3 needs heavy optimizing to run at 35 FPS, but now that I have it all working I am really happy.

Reply 1 of 24, by effy

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I love Matrix cards in general.

The G400 is also a good option. I have a couple that I picked up for Windows 3.1 use since that's the last card with drivers and the image quality is excellent (as expected). Looks great in DOS games as well.

Reply 2 of 24, by Joseph_Joestar

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For DOS games, I usually go with with an S3 Trio or Virge card, for maximum compatibility.

However, despite the minor problems that Matrox cards have with a few DOS games, I am tempted to say that their unprecedented image quality outweighs those drawbacks. Especially if you're gaming on a LCD monitor where VGA signal clarity becomes much more important.

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Reply 3 of 24, by Meatball

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Everyone single of one those cards you listed can be very good. You just happened to have a lousy experience with them in this particular situation. Which is the beauty (and fun?) of having the option of finding the right fit for a particular need.

Like ATI of this era, Matrox produces a series of cards which can't seem to get off of the bench for me. They are decent to pretty good performers, but they stink in the older DOS games I play (Commander Keen, Terminator: Future Shock/SkyNET) and they aren't the fastest, either (...and all of this could be because I didn't spend even more time looking for the right solution to these problem games. Maybe a different setup would have produced better results). Then there's always another card which can do whatever the Matrox can do in a particular situation when I would consider the Matrox, except better. The Matrox cards have great 2D, but I don't spend a lot of time looking at the Windows desktop on a retro machine, and if you're immersed in a game, average 2D won't be noticed unless you're looking for problems... And when you REALLY like a card, confirmation bias sets in. Finally, I have come to appreciate the "warmth" of less than perfect 2D, but I'm rationalizing my preference of a softer picture versus the clean, but sterile image of sharper 2D images. Outside of a contest, I don't spend any time heavily optimizing a game, either. I'll just get a better video card.

If it works in your setup, of course, go with it until it stops working.

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Reply 4 of 24, by bofh.fromhell

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Yea the PCI G450 is a great card to have.
It's got its quirks ofc, like dynamic lighting in the Quake games doesn't work properly.
And its sensitive to drivers.
Also it likes faster CPU's, P2 or better is preferred.
And AFAIK it does not benefit from SMP, or I have just not found the correct drivers for that.

Reply 5 of 24, by Sphere478

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Radeon 92XX cards are generally pretty good cards for socket seven I’m actually surprised that yours did not post, try it on a different socket seven motherboard.

There is also of course the mythical radeon 9100 but I have not been able to procure one yet

Radeon 7000 and 7500 cards are also very good on PCI and socket seven

I want to try some Matrox cards but I haven’t gotten around to it yet I am glad to hear that you’re having good results

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Reply 6 of 24, by The Serpent Rider

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It was discussed multiple times already. Matrox works, but driver overhead is on higher side for Socket 7.

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Reply 7 of 24, by duboisea

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@effy Is the G400 AGP only? I haven't seen any PCI ones on eBay (I didn't look that hard though)

@Meatball Totally! Also thank you so much for your Quake 3 config, it is the only reason I could get it working system 😀

@Sphere478 I will give Radeon another try! Do you have good lucking playing DOS games with it? With old hardware/eBay I am surprised anything works. I have two socket 7 motherboards, but they are both the same finicky Compaq OEM one.

Reply 8 of 24, by BitWrangler

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Why Matrox might have been underhyped, is that it would cost somewhere nearer an upper tier ATI or Nvidia card while performing more like a lower tier one, or somwhere betwixt the two. So gamer bang per buck wasn't there, and they didn't care much as they wanted to sell to graphics pros rather than gamers. So for $$$ you'd get super nice image quality and "modest" 3D game performance. So it was neither fish nor fowl as far as gamers were concerned, not a bang per buck budget pick or a top of the line FPS monster. Though falling prices as they aged may have made them more worth it to pick up. I think at one point you could get them below $100 when otherwise that would get you a nasty MX4000 or FX5200SE or 7200VE or something.

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Reply 9 of 24, by Sphere478

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I don’t play very many DOS games but the ones that I have tried seem to work OK

Sphere's PCB projects.
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Sphere’s socket 5/7 cpu collection.
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SUCCESSFUL K6-2+ to K6-3+ Full Cache Enable Mod
-
Tyan S1564S to S1564D single to dual processor conversion (also s1563 and s1562)

Reply 10 of 24, by Meatball

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duboisea wrote on 2022-07-24, 02:35:

@effy Is the G400 AGP only? I haven't seen any PCI ones on eBay (I didn't look that hard though)

@Meatball Totally! Also thank you so much for your Quake 3 config, it is the only reason I could get it working system 😀

@Sphere478 I will give Radeon another try! Do you have good lucking playing DOS games with it? With old hardware/eBay I am surprised anything works. I have two socket 7 motherboards, but they are both the same finicky Compaq OEM one.

There are no PCI G400s. All AGP: https://web.archive.org/web/20000817073322/ht … df/chipspec.pdf

You can thank "Necrodude" for that. I contributed, but he put everything together from a number of people's work, including his own.

For specifics on what to expect out of many video cards in DOS including Matrox, you can check here: https://gona.mactar.hu/DOS_TESTS/

***->WINNER, 1ST PLACE<-***
2022 #QUAKE3totheMAX -560.5fps-
Brain Drain Retro LAN https://discord.com/channels/799008837918261328
Windows ME
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Athlon 848/154MHz
DDR@411MHz (2-3-3-3)
GeForce 256 DDR@144/344MHz
ESS Maestr0-1

Reply 12 of 24, by Jo22

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effy wrote on 2022-07-23, 18:49:

I love Matrix cards in general.

The G400 is also a good option. I have a couple that I picked up for Windows 3.1 use since that's the last card with drivers and the image quality is excellent (as expected). Looks great in DOS games as well.

That's cool! I'm looking for something similar for a Windows 3.1 development machine.
Running old development systems like Visual Basic, Delphi, Turbo Pascal for Windows..

Could you please tell me if it can do something past 1600x1200 resolutions?
Like 1920x1200? Maybe checking if its in the list of the Matrox utility?

I've asked in another thread before and it's confirmed that 1600x1200 works so far,
with good video quality (thanks guys!).

Graphics card for Windows 3.11 and Nt3.51 in high resolutions (1600x1200 and higher)

But I'd like to get a bit higher, if possible.
Like 1920x1200 - 256 colours would be okay for me. ^^

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Reply 13 of 24, by 386SX

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There are no PCI G400s. All AGP: https://web.archive.org/web/20000817073322/ht … df/chipspec.pdf

Also it explain why the G450 PCI with a similar architecture needed a PCI IC bridge to connect the PCI bus to the AGP video chip that probably was designed completely for the AGP bus features.

(Edit: Before I quoted a different post)

Last edited by 386SX on 2022-07-24, 12:08. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 14 of 24, by The Serpent Rider

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386SX wrote:

Also it explain why the G450 PCI with a similar architecture needed a PCI IC bridge to connect the PCI bus to the AGP video chip that probably was designed completely for the AGP bus features.

No, it doesn't.

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Reply 15 of 24, by 386SX

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Well it might be a possibility just like it might be to make the card compatible with newer PCI specifications. Which is maybe the main reason but I suppose the configs this office video card was oriented to would have retro compatibility anyway. But it was just an opinion, some video chip might have been strictly designed for AGP so much to not work easily in a PCI bus layout without a bridge or not supposed to. Even PCI video cards like the Radeon 7000 PCI had bridge ICs and even if expected to work anyway without them.

(Also I quoted the wrong post above)

Reply 16 of 24, by dr.zeissler

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I am also experimenting with matrox G450/550/P512/P650, my target is a multiboot machine in a very small desktop case.
G450 has native win9x/OS2/2K/XP and it works excellent in amithlon. The G550 should have the same driver-support even if OS2 is not mentioned but it should work.
My problem with the g450 is the vsync, even activated with powerstrip I still get corrcuped screens in gunman-intro.

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Reply 17 of 24, by dr.zeissler

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Any idea why the G450PCI is such a "big" card, when the G550PCI is much much smaller and according to tests a lot faster.

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Reply 18 of 24, by 386SX

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Just a possibility, I suppose the "faster" G550 chip/cards were oriented to office lower power/costs/profile configs also using a different PCI bridge chip instead of the Hint older version. I think there were two version of the PCI G550 with the newer PLX and the Pericom PCI bridge. Which might be a variable itself depending on the benchmark scenario.

Reply 19 of 24, by duboisea

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@kolderman I have this issue with the Voodoo 3 3DFX Voodoo 3 3000 - Inconsistencies with some DOS and Windows Games and no BIOS option to fix it. I haven’t had much luck with the card, the combination of CPU/Mobo/Gfx wasn’t good for me.