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First post, by badmojo

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Like most things in life there's probably no easy answer for this, but what hardware is required to run games in vesa mode at a decent frame rate?

I ask because I've recently been messing around with early pentiums (started with a 200MMX, now using a P2 300 MMX) to play DOS games and am not getting decent frames in vesa mode, but - based on the time periods involved - I think I should be.

And by vesa mode I mean SVGA resolutions above the standard DOS res for games - I'm not even sure if these things are related?

By decent frame rate I mean 60 fps.

Some examples of the games I'm talking about are:

Duke3d
Cyber Mage
System Shock
Quake

The relevant specs of the PC I'm using are:

Pentium2 300MMX
Matrox Mystique 220
64mb ram
MS-DOS 6.22

I'm interested to understand what sort of CPU / Video card (OS ?) I'd need to run these types of games maxed out.

Thanks for any tips!

Reply 1 of 11, by mr_bigmouth_502

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If you want to get those games running at 60fps in VESA modes, you might want to try assembling a Pentium III box. Yes, I know, it sounds rather overkill for some old DOS games, but back when those games were made no one really expected to be playing them at 60fps at such high resolutions (or even 60fps period). 🤣

Reply 2 of 11, by keropi

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on my p200mmx I use an AGP riva128ZX/8MB that has built-in vesa3.0 support... I get 30-60fps in 640*480 ... it plays fine
you should have no probs reaching 60fps with a p2/300 remember to use FASTVID to speedup your vga in your pII setup... ( http://www.mdgx.com/umb.htm#FAS )

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Reply 3 of 11, by emote

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I think there is nothing that will make the SVGA modes in some DOS games run smoothly. Maybe they put those modes in hoping that software mode graphics would become faster in the future, but it didn't happen. Instead everyone moved on to 3DFX and then D3D.

Reply 4 of 11, by swaaye

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mr_bigmouth_502 wrote:

If you want to get those games running at 60fps in VESA modes, you might want to try assembling a Pentium III box. Yes, I know, it sounds rather overkill for some old DOS games, but back when those games were made no one really expected to be playing them at 60fps at such high resolutions (or even 60fps period). 🤣

This guy speaks the truth. I suggest 600MHz or better P3/K7 if you want buttery smooth 640x480 DOS gaming for most if not all games.

Reply 5 of 11, by leileilol

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Scitech Display Doctor can help some if your VESA support sucks. Vesa 3.0 makes Build games a bit faster in some cases

If you've got a Pentium Pro or PII you might want to try Fastvid for playing Quake under DOS. The FPS will REALLY shoot up. 😀

Keep in mind the higher video modes were mostly just 'future proofing' attempts. Quake had support for 1280x1024 in February 1996. What 1996 computer can handle that?

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Reply 6 of 11, by DosFreak

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🤣 60fps

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Reply 7 of 11, by 5u3

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Just for illustration: 640 x 480 x 8 bit x 60 Hz means that the CPU has to generate and shift about 140 MB of data to the framebuffer each second. That's already more than PCI can handle.

Reply 8 of 11, by badmojo

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Thanks for the helpful replies as always on this board, I'll give fastvid a go and try to be a bit more realistic with my expectations.

I'm having a ball messing around with this old hardware - most of which I couldn't afford back in the day - but, due to being corrupted by modern PC gaming I think, I find myself unsure of what to expect from it all.

Reply 11 of 11, by Jolaes76

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btw, leileilol,

you have mentioned you made a DOS Quake enhancement in the past. What exactly is that? Something like GLQuake?

"Ita in vita ut in lusu alae pessima iactura arte corrigenda est."