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First post, by ultra

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I'm very interested in Win98 build with this card for pre-2003 games.A huge plus is that it supports nGlide. As far as I know, fonts may not be displayed correctly in some games. Is this a problem with the FX series or the drivers? Any reasons why it is worth picking 5700 or 5700LE(128bit) over 5600? 5600 supports earlier drivers? Compatibility is more important for me. And I'm aiming for 1024x768 res.
upd: Do I even need 256mb vram for eye-candy features or 128mb is enough? Plus, I don't want to damage the card so is it worth to slightly overclock the memory and the card or leave it to default?

Reply 1 of 56, by analog_programmer

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A comment from some YT video about "how bad is FX 5200" which is one of most hated nV videocards:

"May be a crap card, but it has some niche use now. FX cards are actually great for retro Windows 98 builds because of cost + performance + compatibility. 3dfx Voodoo cards are ideal but cost an arm and a leg these days, and earlier Geforce cards aren't as great with Glide wrappers. As for later cards, Geforce 6xxx is obviously faster, but they're not as compatible with older games (no fog table, etc). Cards newer then that don't have drivers for Windows 98. So the FX series ends up being in that sweet spot, and among them, the 5200 is the only one that has a low profile version. So for the very niche group of people who want a low cost and small form factor retro Windows 98 gaming PC for playing games from 1996-2000 (anything later is better on a XP machine anyways, and the card struggles with anything newer), the 5200 is actually a great choice (as in really the only choice if you want full compatibility)."

I fully agree with it. And your FX 5600 is faster than FX 5200.

from СМ630 to Ryzen gen. 3
engineer's five pennies: this world goes south since everything's run by financiers and economists
this isn't voice chat, yet some people, overusing online communications, "talk" and "hear voices"

Reply 2 of 56, by The Serpent Rider

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GeForce FX 5600 is FX 5200 with all GPU features enabled and usually better memory chips installed. FX5200 suffers greatly in performance, due to lack of those. It was a horrible card which never should have been released. FX5600 is noticeably better.

Do I even need 256mb vram for eye-candy features or 128mb is enough?

128 Mb is enough for GeForce FX series cards. And 256 Mb cards usually had worse memory quality in general, unless it's FX5900.
There are some edge cases where you could utilize 256Mb even with FX5600 though, but performance can be hardly callled comfortable anyway.

I must be some kind of standard: the anonymous gangbanger of the 21st century.

Reply 3 of 56, by ultra

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2023-07-25, 14:32:
GeForce FX 5600 is FX 5200 with all GPU features enabled and usually better memory chips installed. FX5200 suffers greatly in pe […]
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GeForce FX 5600 is FX 5200 with all GPU features enabled and usually better memory chips installed. FX5200 suffers greatly in performance, due to lack of those. It was a horrible card which never should have been released. FX5600 is noticeably better.

Do I even need 256mb vram for eye-candy features or 128mb is enough?

128 Mb is enough for GeForce FX series cards. And 256 Mb cards usually had worse memory quality in general, unless it's FX5900.
There are some edge cases where you could utilize 256Mb even with FX5600 though, but performance can be hardly callled comfortable anyway.

They have different chips, don't they? NV34 and NV31. BTW, FX5700 was released at the same time as FX5200 and 5600? Does the 5700 have the same earlier driver support as those?

Last edited by ultra on 2023-07-25, 15:45. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 4 of 56, by analog_programmer

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2023-07-25, 14:32:

GeForce FX 5600 is FX 5200 with all GPU features enabled and usually better memory chips installed. FX5200 suffers greatly in performance, due to lack of those. It was a horrible card which never should have been released. FX5600 is noticeably better.

The Serpent Rider, you just gave me some sick idea 😀

For the first time in my life from a few days I own FX 5200 (AGP, 128MB DDR Samsung 5ns 400MHz, 128bit bus) with not bad assembly quality. It was given to me as a gift with some more old videocards of that era. In the early 2000s I had a slightly better, but also very bad in terms of performance Radeon 9200SE card, but as terrible as it was, now it is clear to me that it is slightly better than this FX 5200.

So now I have FX 5200, which really doesn't look bad as an option for Win98 machine. Many users claims that FX 5500 is just factory GPU-overclocked FX 5200, but I've also read from other sources that the FX 5500 isn't just a version of the FX 5200 with higher GPU frequency, but has some unlocked GPU features as well. Now you confirm that the FX 5600 is almost a similar story.

Since I can't find suitable BIOS from FX 5500 to upgrade this lame FX 5200, I'll try with BIOS from FX 5600 with lowered memory and GPU frequencies (good old NiBiTor will help) as for FX 5500 (memory frequency is 400MHz as for FX 5200). I don't think that if I post a thread here that I'm looking for a BIOS dump from a specific brand FX 5500 anyone will respond with the file I need, so that leaves me an option to redo the BIOS from the FX 5600 as for FX 5500.

Edit reason: typo "FX 9500" instead of "FX 5500".

Last edited by analog_programmer on 2023-07-25, 16:46. Edited 2 times in total.

from СМ630 to Ryzen gen. 3
engineer's five pennies: this world goes south since everything's run by financiers and economists
this isn't voice chat, yet some people, overusing online communications, "talk" and "hear voices"

Reply 5 of 56, by The Serpent Rider

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ultra wrote on 2023-07-25, 15:11:

They have different chips, don't they? NV34 and NV31. BTW, FX5700 was released at the same time as FX5200 and 5600? Does the 5700 have the same earlier driver support as those?

NV34 is essentially just NV31 with some disabled features that save memory bandwidth and GPU fillrate.
FX5700 does not support early drivers officially, but you potentially can mix and match some old driver DLLs to achieve the same result.

analog_programmer wrote on 2023-07-25, 15:35:

Many users claims that FX 9500 is just factory GPU-overclocked FX 5200, but I've also read from other sources that the FX 5500 isn't just a version of the FX 5200 with higher GPU frequency, but has some unlocked GPU features as well. Now you confirm that the FX 5600 is almost a similar story.

FX5200 Ultra > FX5500 > FX5200. So I doubt it had any new features unlocked. FX5500 was just a rebrand to fall in line with FX5700 and FX5900 series.

I must be some kind of standard: the anonymous gangbanger of the 21st century.

Reply 6 of 56, by analog_programmer

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2023-07-25, 15:52:

FX5200 Ultra > FX5500 > FX5200. So I doubt it had any new features unlocked. FX5500 was just a rebrand to fall in line with FX5700 and FX5900 series.

Аs far as I understood from the information on the internet about the FX generation video cards, FX 5600 Ultra is with faster memory chips and different revision GPU, but FX5500 is with same GPU and memory as FX5200. FX 5600 Ultra does not exist in my thoughts at all. I'll try to mod BIOS from 5600 NON-Ultra - found one for the same make and PCB as my FX 5200. Absolutely harmless reversible mod.

from СМ630 to Ryzen gen. 3
engineer's five pennies: this world goes south since everything's run by financiers and economists
this isn't voice chat, yet some people, overusing online communications, "talk" and "hear voices"

Reply 7 of 56, by SPBHM

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FX 5500 is a FX 5200 rebrand,
FX 5200 is a huge mess when it comes to memory and clock specs, the FX5500 is mostly available with 128bit memory bus at least

fx 5600 had in general higher clock, 128bits bus and was more of a full FX series, FX 5500/5200 had some simplifications to save on die space, I think it used a memory controller closer to the geforce 4 MX one to save on space and lacks some optimizations regarding compression that helps the other FX with memory performance and so on,

Reply 8 of 56, by analog_programmer

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Actually FX 5500 is later revision of FX 5200's GPU in all plastic package. And official frequencies for FX 5500 are 270MHz GPU/400MHz DDR vs 250/400 for FX 5200. So, there is more than just +20MHz for GPU in the end results. And there are enough successful upgrades of FX 5200 to FX 5500 just by BIOS reflash.

Otherwise, the topic of whether FX series videocards are suitable for Win98 ended after the first two comments. Yes, they are more than suitable as a cheapest solutions, especially if you don't want to pay wrong money for Voodoo 1/2/3.

from СМ630 to Ryzen gen. 3
engineer's five pennies: this world goes south since everything's run by financiers and economists
this isn't voice chat, yet some people, overusing online communications, "talk" and "hear voices"

Reply 10 of 56, by analog_programmer

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ultra wrote on 2023-07-25, 18:05:

I also asked about overclocking, so can it damage the card or shorten lifespan??

You can damage the card by overheating due to bad cooling with some serious overclock. Or if you add in equation some voltmod for even more overclock. As for the lifespan shortening... theoretically - yes, overclock shortens the "life of the silicon", but in practice "only god knows" 😀

ultra wrote on 2023-07-25, 18:05:

Does anyone know if it's possible to install a cooler from another card?

Your card looks like already has a descent active cooler for the model. Just use it stock with windows 98, man. If you insist on trying to slightly overclock it, use software like RivaTuner.

from СМ630 to Ryzen gen. 3
engineer's five pennies: this world goes south since everything's run by financiers and economists
this isn't voice chat, yet some people, overusing online communications, "talk" and "hear voices"

Reply 11 of 56, by The Serpent Rider

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Overclocking does not affect chip lifespan much if you do not increase voltage or dramatically increase clock speed (like 100% or more). Both of these things are not possible to achieve on FX5600.

Last edited by The Serpent Rider on 2023-07-25, 21:03. Edited 1 time in total.

I must be some kind of standard: the anonymous gangbanger of the 21st century.

Reply 12 of 56, by Repo Man11

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ultra wrote on 2023-07-25, 18:05:
Thanks to all. I also asked about overclocking, so can it damage the card or shorten lifespan?? Does anyone know if it's possibl […]
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Thanks to all. I also asked about overclocking, so can it damage the card or shorten lifespan?? Does anyone know if it's possible to install a cooler from another card? I have 5600 from ASUS.
ASUS-Nvidia-Geforce-FX-5600-128MB-V9560-TD-P-128M-A-AGP.webp

I have one of those exact cards. I replaced the thermal paste with AS5, oiled the fan bearing, and it has worked well for me. I was able to overclock it a bit (I can't recall how much), but I was testing it in systems where it was very CPU limited so there wasn't much point.

"I'd rather be rich than stupid" - Jack Handey

Reply 14 of 56, by The Serpent Rider

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UltraShadow was designed, on paper, to improve performance of rendering shadow volumes. Shadow volumes are commonly associated with games like Thief Deadly Shadows and Doom 3. Some Win9x use shadow volumes, but very sparingly. Quite a lot of Dreamcast ports use that technique (Jet Set Radio, etc).

In practical application, there's no noticeable improvement which do not fall into typical numbers difference (clocks, memory bus width, vertex shader amount).

I must be some kind of standard: the anonymous gangbanger of the 21st century.

Reply 15 of 56, by W.x.

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Actually, FX5200 is not bad budget card. I don't agree with Serpent Rider, that it shouldn't have been released.
Who screwed the card reputation, were manufacturers, but they've already starting to do it with Gefroce MX440-8x refresh.

They've put 64-bit bus and cheap memory on. And underclocked the card.

Btw, I have FX 5600 with 325 mhz core/ 200mhz memory (reference is 325/275). It's Axle card. The one need to be careful even when buying FX5600. But it happeneds much less on FX5600. FX5200 were often crippled, to be as cheap as possible.

I had one FX 5200 that looked like pro, even with solid capacitors, and it was 64-bit underclocked version. It has 250/166 clocks, and 64-bit bus.
Now when you buy good FX5200, like my MSI FX5600 with 3.6ns Samsung memory, that's completly different story. Of course, you need to use overclock, to achieve good results, but you can end with like 325/300 overclock.

It was good lowend chip, if you know the stuff. Dont blame FX5200, it's just the chip. Blame card manufacturers. It came only year later after Geforce 4 line was released, and see, how much better it was from original MX440. Also supported DirectX 8.1 and 9 finally. Being lowest of FX family, it's not bad at all, and not far away from FX5600, when you overclock it. Of course there were better budget options at Ati at that time, but only in terms of performance. My experience with Ati cards, and particulary Ati drivers, are worse, than with Nvidia. Overall, I don't see FX5200 as bad card, as it was only year later card from MX440, with similiar pricing, but better architecture, features, overclock potential, and directX 8.1 and 9 support. And don't forget , MX440 wasn't the lowest ... MX200 and MX4000 was. So FX5200 actually overcame MX440, which were kinda midrange card of previous generation, and that's not bad result from most lowend card of the next generation, when you overcome something, that was similiar priced and midrange card only year before.

Think of FX5200 as yearly refresh of MX440 with similiar original price, and you will realize, that you actually got some upgrade, and we're still talking about weakest card of FX generation.

Reply 16 of 56, by ODwilly

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LP GeForce fx 5200 or Geforce 4 cards, are the best compatible cheap 98se LP cards . especially since they are so common from OEMs

Main pc: Asus ROG 17. R9 5900HX, RTX 3070m, 16gb ddr4 3200, 1tb NVME.
Retro PC: Soyo P4S Dragon, 3gb ddr 266, 120gb Maxtor, Geforce Fx 5950 Ultra, SB Live! 5.1

Reply 17 of 56, by agent_x007

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Have a 3DMark 01SE roundup of FX Ultra family (core/memory clock matched), tested on AM2NF3 board with Phenom II x4 :
file.php?id=178766&mode=view

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Reply 18 of 56, by The Serpent Rider

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W.x. wrote on 2023-11-18, 10:17:

They've put 64-bit bus and cheap memory on. And underclocked the card.

FX5600 also had the same cut-down 64-bit versions. Like I said, it's a completely redundant chip. Even in "good" configuration it had performance of GeForce 4 MX, which is also not a good series of cards.

I must be some kind of standard: the anonymous gangbanger of the 21st century.

Reply 19 of 56, by W.x.

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2023-11-18, 14:37:

FX5600 also had the same cut-down 64-bit versions. Like I said, it's a completely redundant chip. Even in "good" configuration it had performance of GeForce 4 MX, which is also not a good series of cards.

Lets compare it to other Nvidia lowest GPUs of generations

before:
TNT2 Vanta / Vanta-LT
Geforce 2 MX/200
Geforce 4 MX420
(Geforce 256 / 3 didn't have budget line, they were all high-end - midrange)

after:
Geforce 6200
Geforce 7300GS/7100GS (regranded 6200 chip)
Geforce 8400GS
Geforce 210

Why do you think, FX 5200 is so much worse of them? That is should not even exists? For early 2003, it was great budget card, particulary in good configuration. Great overclocking potential with good memory, it's just good lowend card.

The only better was 6200. The all others are worse for their year of release, than FX5200, I think. Try to make benchmarks for the games, that were released in the year , or year before. That would mean for example playing Crysis on 8400GS. So lets try FX 5200 (128-bit, overclock to 300/300) on for example Morrowind : Bloodmoon, and that's completly playable. Or other early 2003 games. You will see , it will do much better, than 8400GS in 2007, or 7300GS in 2006.

It will do even better, than geforce 4 MX420 in 2002, or Geforce 2 MX200 in 2001.