GeForce 256 DDR for vintage pc

Discussion about old graphics cards, monitors and video related things.

Re: GeForce 256 DDR for vintage pc

Postby Jasin Natael » 2019-5-17 @ 16:42

I have one. It doesn't work, gets super hot super fast. Artifacts and won't run any benchmarks without crashing.

I've kept it around as a curiosity only.
AOpen AP53 AMD K6/2 - 233MHZ - 64MB RAM 20GB WD HDD Win98SE

Compaq Presario 5152 AMD K6-III+ 550MHZ 512MB RAM ATi Radeon 9250SE 256MB PCI Aureal Vortex 2

Asus A7V-VE AMD Athlon T-Bird 1.20GHZ 512MB RAM ATi Radeon 7500 DDR 64MB Vortex 2 32GB KingSpec SSD
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Re: GeForce 256 DDR for vintage pc

Postby havli » 2019-5-17 @ 18:59

I think for NV1x architecture the major bottleneck is the memory bandwidth. Fillrate is not that important. Therefore GF 256 DDR will be always faster than any GF2 MX... even OC models like 200/200 MHz Asus V7100/pro. GF4 MX440 is nice, but only 128-bit models... 64-bit is more or less the same like GF2 MX or GF 256 SDR.
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Re: GeForce 256 DDR for vintage pc

Postby swaaye » 2019-5-17 @ 19:18

GF4 also adds dithering to DXT1/S3TC so it's no longer horribly banded as with GF1-3.
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Re: GeForce 256 DDR for vintage pc

Postby Skanque » 2019-5-17 @ 19:51

Dell 9830U nVidia 180-P0003-0100-D02 GeForce 256 32MB AGP VGA Video Card RARE

Try this description on eBay, I already have two Geforce 256, so think someone ells will be more happy with it.
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Re: GeForce 256 DDR for vintage pc

Postby ph4nt0m » 2019-5-18 @ 10:45

havli wrote:I think for NV1x architecture the major bottleneck is the memory bandwidth. Fillrate is not that important. Therefore GF 256 DDR will be always faster than any GF2 MX... even OC models like 200/200 MHz Asus V7100/pro. GF4 MX440 is nice, but only 128-bit models... 64-bit is more or less the same like GF2 MX or GF 256 SDR.

Not exactly. GF 256 and GF2 didn't have any Z-buffer optimisations unlike GF3 and newer. Most notably hidden surface removal and Z-buffer compression. They wasted a lot memory bandwidth and fill rate on overdraw, i.e. rendering objects hidden behind other objects visible to the viewer. This is the area where early Radeons were so much better. In addition, memory controllers of GF 256 and GF2 weren't multichannel, i.e. one 128-bit vs. four 32-bit channels. It was of a lower importance since they didn't support pixel shaders, but anyway.
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Re: GeForce 256 DDR for vintage pc

Postby dries_86 » 2019-5-18 @ 13:09

Skanque wrote:Dell 9830U nVidia 180-P0003-0100-D02 GeForce 256 32MB AGP VGA Video Card RARE

Try this description on eBay, I already have two Geforce 256, so think someone ells will be more happy with it.

Seems to be right, 180-P0003-0100-D02 . Currently at least 2 for sale on ebay in US.
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Re: GeForce 256 DDR for vintage pc

Postby The Serpent Rider » 2019-5-19 @ 21:45

GF 256 and GF2 didn't have any Z-buffer optimisations unlike GF3 and newer.

GeForce 256 had some optimisations with the texture filtering though.
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Re: GeForce 256 DDR for vintage pc

Postby silikone » 2019-5-21 @ 04:02

ph4nt0m wrote:
havli wrote:I think for NV1x architecture the major bottleneck is the memory bandwidth. Fillrate is not that important. Therefore GF 256 DDR will be always faster than any GF2 MX... even OC models like 200/200 MHz Asus V7100/pro. GF4 MX440 is nice, but only 128-bit models... 64-bit is more or less the same like GF2 MX or GF 256 SDR.

Not exactly. GF 256 and GF2 didn't have any Z-buffer optimisations unlike GF3 and newer. Most notably hidden surface removal and Z-buffer compression. They wasted a lot memory bandwidth and fill rate on overdraw, i.e. rendering objects hidden behind other objects visible to the viewer. This is the area where early Radeons were so much better. In addition, memory controllers of GF 256 and GF2 weren't multichannel, i.e. one 128-bit vs. four 32-bit channels. It was of a lower importance since they didn't support pixel shaders, but anyway.

Doesn't it still save a write operation upon a failed depth test? That should help on SDR where the four pixel pipelines get bottlenecked by the bandwidth, but the DDR has one of the highest bandwidth-to-fillrate ratios of all NVIDIA cards ever released.
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Re: GeForce 256 DDR for vintage pc

Postby rasz_pl » 2019-5-21 @ 20:56

silikone wrote:
ph4nt0m wrote:
havli wrote:I think for NV1x architecture the major bottleneck is the memory bandwidth. Fillrate is not that important. Therefore GF 256 DDR will be always faster than any GF2 MX... even OC models like 200/200 MHz Asus V7100/pro. GF4 MX440 is nice, but only 128-bit models... 64-bit is more or less the same like GF2 MX or GF 256 SDR.

Not exactly. GF 256 and GF2 didn't have any Z-buffer optimisations unlike GF3 and newer. Most notably hidden surface removal and Z-buffer compression. They wasted a lot memory bandwidth and fill rate on overdraw, i.e. rendering objects hidden behind other objects visible to the viewer. This is the area where early Radeons were so much better. In addition, memory controllers of GF 256 and GF2 weren't multichannel, i.e. one 128-bit vs. four 32-bit channels. It was of a lower importance since they didn't support pixel shaders, but anyway.

Doesn't it still save a write operation upon a failed depth test?

Thats how normal Zbuffer works :-)
What advanced Zbuffer optimizations do is:
-save bandwidth reading Z values (compression, simplest is cached tiling with clever min/max/cleared per tile, more advanced adds actual transparent compression per tile)
-skips fragment shader altogether - saves on all the texture lookup/blending (early-z culling)
-terminate whole triangle after single read (hi-z)
Ati HyperZ marketingwank was all 3 of the above combined
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Re: GeForce 256 DDR for vintage pc

Postby pico1180 » 2019-5-24 @ 03:46

rasz_pl wrote:
SPBHM wrote:there is a seller with 3x Elsa Gloria II Pro for $50 each on ebay


"RETURNS: Returns are not accepted. All sales are final. Buyer pays for returning the item if allowed by Ebay as a result of a dispute. All shipping charges are not refundable.
DISPUTES: This item is sold As-IS with all faults and imperfections if any. It is non-returnable. We make every effort to make sure the description is as accurate as possible. Any errors or omissions in the listing shall not be grounds for returning the item. It is sold As-IS and Non-Returnable. If Ebay permits the buyer to return the item to the seller as a result of a dispute, the buyer agrees and shall pay a 25% restocking fee. In addition, the buyer agrees and shall pay the return shipping charges including insurance. Buyer also agrees that the all shipping charges are not refundable."


Conditions of this listing are against Ebay rules.

"sealed static bag, All Sales are final. There are no warranties. Sold AS-IS "
= broken cards. All it takes is a clothes iron and bam, sealed "new" card.

I agree on MX400, same performance at a fraction of the price. 256 is a collectors item, was originally sold during a very narrow window. Nvidia was shitting out new generations of products every couple of months during 3dfx fight!
Riva 128 (April 1997) to TNT (June 15, 1998) took 14 months, TNT2 (March 15, 1999) 8 month, GF256 (October 11, 1999) 7 months, GF2 (April 26, 2000) 6 months, | 3dfx dies here |, GF3 (February 27, 2001) 9 months, GF4 (February 6, 2002) 12 months, FX (March 2003) 13 months, etc ...


Doesn't matter what you put in the listing. Ebay will let a buyer send something back for whatever reason they wont. If the seller doesn't corporate, eBay will just draft the sellers account anyways.

Also, Wikipidia says the GeForce 2 wasn't released until a year after the 256. September 7th 2000 to be specific for the GF2 and the 256 was released October 11, 1999. That isn't correct I take it?
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Re: GeForce 256 DDR for vintage pc

Postby pico1180 » 2019-5-24 @ 04:05

I too want a GeForce 256 for a period correct 1999 build. I know there are better cards, but I want it for a period piece.

Also, there is a seller right now on eBay selling NV15's (GeForce 2 GTS) for $20 with free shipping and accepting best offers. If the seller is accepting best offers, you know you can get it for less then $20.

"Nvidia Geforce 32MB NV15 AGP Card GEFORCE-NV15-32MB 2x4x VGA Video Card"
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Re: GeForce 256 DDR for vintage pc

Postby rasz_pl » 2019-5-24 @ 05:34

pico1180 wrote:Doesn't matter what you put in the listing. Ebay will let a buyer send something back for whatever reason they wont. If the seller doesn't corporate, eBay will just draft the sellers account anyways.


I fully agree, but why bother when its clearly a scam

pico1180 wrote:Also, Wikipidia says the GeForce 2 wasn't released until a year after the 256. September 7th 2000 to be specific for the GF2 and the 256 was released October 11, 1999. That isn't correct I take it?


GTS was April https://www.anandtech.com/show/537, GeForce2 MX was June and Ultra September, Wiki states
The first models to arrive after the original GeForce 2 GTS was the GeForce 2 Ultra and GeForce2 MX, launched in September 7, 2000

someone editing wiki didnt fully comprehend Nvidias crazy 6 month release cycle and probably deleted initial date bundling other chips together, mess.
https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/fu ... a,204.html
https://www.anandtech.com/show/601 - no clue why article is backdated, but if you read first page you will see they mention its September at the day of publishing

pico1180 wrote:I too want a GeForce 256 for a period correct 1999 build. I know there are better cards, but I want it for a period piece.
Also, there is a seller right now on eBay selling NV15's (GeForce 2 GTS) for $20

not really collectible, doesnt hold much significance in the grand scheme of things - not first T&L GPU, not high model, GF4 MX440/MX460 beat it in benchmarks, meh.
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Re: GeForce 256 DDR for vintage pc

Postby pico1180 » 2019-5-24 @ 06:40

And a GeForce 6800 will beat that.. if you want, we can see how far this rabbit whole will go. The significance of a GeForce 2 GTS is, its fast, only marginally outside the presumed time period, readily available, and pretty cheap. The GeForce 3 or 4 were released years after the 256 and GF2. The thread devolved into suggestions for alternatives years outside the time frame of the card Xray1281 inquired about. Perhaps that matters. Perhaps that doesn't. There are tons of suitable stand-in's for a 256. Unless you want the card to be period correct. Then there isn't.

In my search for a 256 I looked at what else was available during that time. The Matrox G400, and the ATI Rage Fury Pro. Those became targets for my search. I stopped following 3Dfx after the ATI Rage was released and I never took S3 seriously. So I personally don't know what those manufacturers were doing at the time. Perhaps information an all the video cards which were available at the time the 256 was would add more value then pointing out cards that came years later...

Here is another example. For my 1999 build, I want an Atlas 10k. Not an Atlas 10k II or III which are faster, cheaper, and more available then a 10k I. I want a 10k I. It is period correct for 1999. If someone started suggesting CF cards, or SSD's or whatever else, it would be pretty annoying and dismissive of my wants and needs.

Now if Xray1281 asked, what is a good card for a vintage PC build circa 1999, then let the suggestions fly. But when Xray1281 is like, help me find a 256, and everyone is like, no that's a dumb card. pick something else.. I'm just like... :confused: :confused: :neutral: :neutral: :confused: :confused:


/rant off
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Re: GeForce 256 DDR for vintage pc

Postby ph4nt0m » 2019-5-24 @ 08:17

pico1180 wrote:In my search for a 256 I looked at what else was available during that time. The Matrox G400, and the ATI Rage Fury Pro. Those became targets for my search. I stopped following 3Dfx after the ATI Rage was released and I never took S3 seriously. So I personally don't know what those manufacturers were doing at the time. Perhaps information an all the video cards which were available at the time the 256 was would add more value then pointing out cards that came years later...

S3 Savage2000 and ATI Rage Fury MAXX were about as good as GeForce 256. 3Dfx Voodoo5 5500 was late to the party.
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Re: GeForce 256 DDR for vintage pc

Postby havli » 2019-5-24 @ 19:05

On paper yes... however in real games they are far from it. Savage 2000 is just broken (TnL) and slow. I had one borrowed years ago for testing and on average it performed around TNT2 Pro level, so about 35% slower than GF 256 SDR.

RFM can deliver fps comparable to GF 256 SDR, sometimes even more. But it is AFR solution riddled with microstuttering, no win 2k(+) drivers and somewhat limited compatibility with motherboards/chipsets. I believe it is AGP 3.3V only, just like Voodoo5 and I recall it refused to work properly on SiS 645 system with P4 which otherwise shows no problems with other 3.3V AGP 2x cards.
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Re: GeForce 256 DDR for vintage pc

Postby swaaye » 2019-5-25 @ 19:19

Yea, Savage 2000 is pretty nasty. I'm not sure which games it actually runs well. They seemed to put most effort into Quake 3 and UT (they demoed those games on it) but its Metal support is not super great. Like detail textures are disabled by default IIRC and if turned on they cause stuttering. And it is picky about motherboards. The T&L is fubar with rendering errors and it's just slow, apparently because of how it works with lights. Driver updates/support was very poor.

NV was so fast at getting cards out because they had many parallel projects and were well coordinated.
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Re: GeForce 256 DDR for vintage pc

Postby ph4nt0m » 2019-5-25 @ 23:43

S3 had issues because they didn't or couldn't hire decent programmers. That was one of the reasons they bought Diamond Multimedia which ran FireGL. NVIDIA OpenGL drivers were also crap in 1999 until they bought the entire dev team from SGI which did Quadro. S3 couldn't manage Diamond properly, sold their graphics business to VIA and died quietly in 2003. The FireGL dev team was bought by ATI in 2001. Funny thing, 3Dfx thought S3 was their primary competitor in 1999, not NVIDIA or ATI.
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