VOGONS


First post, by DonFuego

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Which graphics card (or chip) was the fastest DOS (2D) performer ever? I reckon it must have been produced during the late VLB / early PCI -era around 1995. After this focus shifted to 3D performance. The reason I'm asking is that I'm building a "Demo/scene" 486 for running old DOS demos.

I'm building the Ultimate 1994 Demo Scene Machine. Specs so far:

* i486DX2/66 * 32 Mb FPM 2-1-1-1/0 WS RAM * Cirrus Logic 5428 VLB 1 Mb (suggestions?)
* Maxtor uMAX II 6 Gb HDD * 3Com 3C509B * SB Pro 16 * GUS Max 1 Mb

Reply 2 of 56, by HunterZ

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They're probably not going to be drastically different for standard VGA, and if you need hi-res modes then you may be limited by which chipsets the demos support (unless they use VESA).

Reply 3 of 56, by 5u3

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I recommend a Tseng ET4000 variant (W32p/W32i). The Tseng cards are probably not the fastest VLB cards, but they are certainly the most compatible with mid-nineties scene demos.

Reply 6 of 56, by 5u3

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ET6000 is a real show-stopper, but for another reason:
It doesn't work correctly in VGA Mode X, which is used extensively in demo scene productions.
Without this glitch the ET6000 would be the best PCI VGA to watch demos.

Reply 7 of 56, by PowerPie5000

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I'm using an old 1mb Cirrus Logic VLB card in my 486DX4 system and it works perfectly with all the old games i've tried so far (i think it's a Cirrus Logic GD5428). It may not be the fastest or the best but it does the job 😎

Last edited by PowerPie5000 on 2009-10-22, 23:48. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 8 of 56, by DonFuego

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Hmm... CL5428 VLB is doing about 12 Mb/s 32 bit writes in 8 bpp on my system (see below) according to X-VESA. What do you got on the ET4000 for instance? Curious to see some numbers for comparison.

X-Vesa is available here: http://www.benchmarkhq.ru/fclick/fclick.php?fid=229

I'm building the Ultimate 1994 Demo Scene Machine. Specs so far:

* i486DX2/66 * 32 Mb FPM 2-1-1-1/0 WS RAM * Cirrus Logic 5428 VLB 1 Mb (suggestions?)
* Maxtor uMAX II 6 Gb HDD * 3Com 3C509B * SB Pro 16 * GUS Max 1 Mb

Reply 9 of 56, by PowerPie5000

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DonFuego wrote:

Hmm... CL5428 VLB is doing about 12 Mb/s writes in 8 bpp according to X-VESA. What do you got on the ET4000 for instance? Curious to see some numbers for comparison.

Is that good, average or bad for the Cirrus card? (for it's time period)

Reply 10 of 56, by DonFuego

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I dont know (my computer is doing 24.98 score in SPEEDSYS) but i figure it's pretty much standard for this card, that is CL-5428 VLB 1Mb. Cards that support interleave (with 2 Mb) should be faster though... in theory!

Please try Benchmark with X-VESA (see above)

I'm building the Ultimate 1994 Demo Scene Machine. Specs so far:

* i486DX2/66 * 32 Mb FPM 2-1-1-1/0 WS RAM * Cirrus Logic 5428 VLB 1 Mb (suggestions?)
* Maxtor uMAX II 6 Gb HDD * 3Com 3C509B * SB Pro 16 * GUS Max 1 Mb

Reply 11 of 56, by PowerPie5000

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DonFuego wrote:

I dont know (my computer is doing 24.98 score in SPEEDSYS) but i figure it's pretty much standard for this card, that is CL-5428 VLB 1Mb. Cards that support interleave (with 2 Mb) should be faster though... in theory!

I will try running X-Vesa later on my 486 and see what results i get 😀

This is my system for comparison:

AMD 486DX4 @ 100mhz
256K Cache
32mb FPM 60ns (2 x 16mb 72-pin simms)
1mb Cirrus Logic CL-GD5428 VLB video card
3.2gb Fujitsu hard drive (can't remember the model)
Winbond VLB I/O controller card (IDE, floppy and com ports etc...)
Soundblaster Pro 2.0 CT1600
8x Sony CDU311 CD drive

Reply 12 of 56, by swaaye

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Cirrus Logic stuff was considered fairly fast for awhile. I think VGA speed isn't all that critical, honestly, unless you're stuck with a POS like a Trident ISA card.

I actually upgraded to a ISA CL5426 from a ISA Trident 8900 way back. It was a lot faster.

Reply 13 of 56, by DonFuego

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Oh yes, VLB is a lot faster than ISA. Comparable to PCI actually. That's why I'm curious to compare VLB (and PCI) DOS graphics speeds.

If you benchmark with X-VESA make sure you run the 640x480x8bpp mode (mode 101 on my machine)

I'm building the Ultimate 1994 Demo Scene Machine. Specs so far:

* i486DX2/66 * 32 Mb FPM 2-1-1-1/0 WS RAM * Cirrus Logic 5428 VLB 1 Mb (suggestions?)
* Maxtor uMAX II 6 Gb HDD * 3Com 3C509B * SB Pro 16 * GUS Max 1 Mb

Reply 14 of 56, by swaaye

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Well what I mean is that, with a 486, the processor and memory performance is going to be a bottleneck for most things once you have any semi-decent video card.

Reply 15 of 56, by DonFuego

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Hmm.. I'm not too sure about that. On most (or all?) 486 mother boards the system memory is 32 bit wide, while some later graphics cards had 64 bit memory, usually 2 Mb / 32 bit interleaved, with 64 bit host interface (VLB 2.0) allowing theoretically twice the system memory speed.

On the CL-5428 VLB 1 Mb card I have, 16 and 32 bit writes are actually faster than 64 and 80 bit writes. This is probably due to the fact that this card only has 32 bit (VLB 1.0) host interface and 32 bit memory (64 bit requires 2 Mb with interleave).

So, graphics cards with 2 Mb interleaved RAM and 64 bit host interface should, theoretically, perform about twice the speed.

I'm building the Ultimate 1994 Demo Scene Machine. Specs so far:

* i486DX2/66 * 32 Mb FPM 2-1-1-1/0 WS RAM * Cirrus Logic 5428 VLB 1 Mb (suggestions?)
* Maxtor uMAX II 6 Gb HDD * 3Com 3C509B * SB Pro 16 * GUS Max 1 Mb

Reply 16 of 56, by swaaye

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Yeah the raw video performance can be greater. Certainly.

Whether you can benefit from the greater performance in real apps though depends on how much the CPU is required to perform. In 3D games, the 486 will quickly become the bottleneck unless you have a really poor video card. As you say, there are synthetic benchmarks that will primarily test bus performance and they do so by keeping things very simple for the CPU.

For example, consider Wing Commander III. On a high-end 486 the game will very tangibly benefit from moving from a slow ISA card to a fast VLB card. I've been there. 😀 VGA will be quite fast, but with SVGA mode you'll only get about 15-20fps unless you run a Pentium.

I was thinking about where I used to read benchies about DOS performance back in the '90s and remembered Sysopt.com. The Wayback machine found it for me. The benchmark section has a ton of DOS results.
http://web.archive.org/web/19971211210207/htt … www.sysopt.com/

Reply 18 of 56, by PowerPie5000

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DonFuego wrote:

Hmm... CL5428 VLB is doing about 12 Mb/s 32 bit writes in 8 bpp on my system (see below) according to X-VESA. What do you got on the ET4000 for instance? Curious to see some numbers for comparison.

X-Vesa is available here: http://www.benchmarkhq.ru/fclick/fclick.php?fid=229

I tested mine at 640x480- 8bpp (mode 101) and these are the results i got for writes:

8-bit writes: 5,420 Kb/s
16-bit writes: 10,800 Kb/s
32-bit writes: 10,800 Kb/s
64-bit writes: 10,800 Kb/s
80-bit writes: 10,800 Kb/s

I'm not sure if these are results are accurate? Should they all be the same like that? and they drop slightly if i run Vesa-X under Windows 95.

X-Vesa detects my graphics card as a Cirrus Logic GD54xx (it's a VLB card)

Reply 19 of 56, by DonFuego

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swaaye wrote:

I was thinking about where I used to read benchies about DOS performance back in the '90s and remembered Sysopt.com. The Wayback machine found it for me. The benchmark section has a ton of DOS results.
http://web.archive.org/web/19971211210207/htt … www.sysopt.com/

Thank you! This is exactly what I've been looking for. I also downloaded a good video benchmarking tool from that site called Vidspeed. You guys should check it out.

PowerPie5000 wrote:
I tested mine at 640x480- 8bpp (mode 101) and these are the results i got for writes: […]
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I tested mine at 640x480- 8bpp (mode 101) and these are the results i got for writes:

8-bit writes: 5,420 Kb/s
16-bit writes: 10,800 Kb/s
32-bit writes: 10,800 Kb/s
64-bit writes: 10,800 Kb/s
80-bit writes: 10,800 Kb/s

I'm not sure if these are results are accurate? Should they all be the same like that? and they drop slightly if i run Vesa-X under Windows 95.

X-Vesa detects my graphics card as a Cirrus Logic GD54xx (it's a VLB card)

Yep. I think that's normal for the Cirrus Logic card. I get similar result. I actually get slightly higher in 16/32 bit mode, but it's probably is due to tighter memory timing.

I'm building the Ultimate 1994 Demo Scene Machine. Specs so far:

* i486DX2/66 * 32 Mb FPM 2-1-1-1/0 WS RAM * Cirrus Logic 5428 VLB 1 Mb (suggestions?)
* Maxtor uMAX II 6 Gb HDD * 3Com 3C509B * SB Pro 16 * GUS Max 1 Mb