VOGONS


First post, by Dracolich

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Hi, guys. So I have these three cards and trying to decide which is best for my Win98 machine - Sempron 2.0GHz, 512MB RAM. This PC is primarily for MechWarrior 2Ti - 4 series, and Myst 1-5 series.
1) Diamond Radeon 9250 (DM-R9250PCI-D3)
2) BFG Geforce 6200OC edition (BFGR62256OCP)
3) PNY Verto FX5200 (VCGFX522PPB)

All are PCI cards (I don't have AGP) and all have 256MB. I had the Radeon first, until I got the GF6200, and I just acquired the FX5200. The fan on the Radeon is noisy sometimes. The driver for the GF6200 is a little glitchy. I haven't tried the FX5200 yet. According to specs listed on C-Net reviews, the Radeon is 128-bit with 240MHz core and 200MHz effective memory clocks and 400MHz RAMDAC; the GF6200 is 64-bit with 350/410/400; and the FX5200 is 128-bit with 250/400/350.
I see a lot of negative opinions on here about the FX series, but for Win98, considering the state of the driver and the difference in bus, would the FX5200 gain any edge over the GF6200? And with the specs of the FX5200 and R9250 being so close, how do those two compare?

I also have a similar comparison to ask for my K6/233 machine: how is the DOS compatibility and Windows 3.11 driver support of a TNT2 M64 compared to a Voodoo3 2000?

Reply 1 of 10, by 386SX

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Lately I'm trying the FX 5200 PCI (256MB 128bit) but on a modern Win 8.1 and forcing Vista drivers. It works I suppose cause already written for the WDDM 1.0 driver model and to make things more difficult I'm using a low power Atom system.
Anyway I've seen most old games didn't really use a lot of cpu power. The card is slower than expected but I suppose this gpu could work faster in older Directx6/7 games with os from Win 9x to XP; with modern o.s. the drivers or the o.s. seems to work with older games in some sort of "compatibility" mode. For example 3dmark2000 can't get the first test above 20-30fps when I suppose this card would be capable of more frame rates considering it's 3dmark2000 but this shouldn't happen in Win 98 like o.s. Newer games instead runs faster but as slow as expected.
So it's all about the o.s., the existing drivers and the choice of games and considering the o.s. is Win 98 I expect other people advices for such combination of card/existing drivers.

Reply 2 of 10, by swaaye

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You should get the best image quality from the 6200 and it should be fastest by far among those cards.

Theoretically the 5200 is useful for Glide wrappers because it has the perfect feature set with 8-bit paletted texture support in hardware, but the 6200 should still be faster.

The 5200 does have the benefit of being able to run older drivers like 43.45 - 45.23. This is beneficial for old games indeed.

Radeon 9000-9250 are a tweaked 8500/9100 but without Truform support in hardware. As with 8500, slow and somewhat buggy supersampled FSAA and the texture filtering is rather poor especially compared to a Geforce 6200. Also poor support for various OpenGL and DirectX 5 era games.

As for TNT2 M64 vs Voodoo3 on a K6? Voodoo3 all the way. Glide is very beneficial for such old hardware and the games you would run on it.

Last edited by swaaye on 2020-09-14, 17:36. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 3 of 10, by 386SX

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The only thing that I wonder is how much the 6200 faster card would stress the PCI bus power wattage considering the other PCI cards that were usually installed into an old system maybe three or four PCI connectors?. The FX 5200 I'm trying already seems to require all the 25W limit measuring the wattage from the wall plug compared to my iGPU that required 3 watts. But it's a single PCI slot mainboard.

Reply 4 of 10, by Dracolich

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Thanks for the quick and informative replies. swaaye, the driver version is one reason I am on the fence between the 6200 and 5200. While the 6200 was first supported in driver version 66.94, this particular version (NV44A) was not supported until 77.72. The 81.xx breaks some Win98 functionality, and 77.72 works but needs Active Desktop enabled to avoid screen artifacts when moving/closing windows.

386SX, that is an interesting thought about power consumption. I think the 6200 does have slightly higher PSU system requirement of my three cards.

Reply 5 of 10, by Standard Def Steve

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I'd definitely grab that 128-bit FX5200 and call it a day. Shader 2.0 performance is a non-issue for the games you mentioned, and the wider memory interface should make it at least as fast as the 6200 everywhere else.

Don't worry about the card's power draw; that's also a non-issue on a Socket A or 754 based system.

Ten Gigahertz
5 Groovy GHz: Ryzen 9 5900X | GTX 1080 Ti | 32GB DDR4-3600 | 2TB NVMe, 8TB HDD | Win 10
5 Troll GHz: AMD FX-8350 | Radeon R9 Fury | 16GB DDR3-1866 | 500GB SSD, 2TB HDD | Win 8.1

Reply 7 of 10, by Dracolich

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Thanks, guys, for the thoughts and tips. swaaye, thanks for your thoughts about V3 vs TNT2.

Last night I played MW2 Ti a bit on the 6200 and got to a mission that would repeatedly freeze before being able to complete it. The only way to get past it was to use a cheat. It happened once earlier on another mission and after lowering the detail settings it would play without problem. I don't remember it happening with the Radeon on high settings.

This morning I installed the FX5200 and it is doing well. At first it was using the 77.72 driver. There was no artifacting on the desktop but in Windows Explorer it was temporarily blanking the screen when descending into subfolders. The Radeon did that, too, but not as badly. After replacing the 77.72 driver with 45.23, so far no glitches. In MW2 Ti I cranked up the detail settings to highest and ran four missions without problem.

I noticed something when swapping the cards - on the 6200 the heatsink/fan easily rocks back-and-forth across the chip underneath. Makes me wonder if the game crashing might be due to it not cooling properly? The FX5200 has a larger heatsink without fan and does not feel loose. I already mentioned the fan on the radeon might be dying.

Reply 8 of 10, by swaaye

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Interesting results. I would just be suspicious of the 77.72 drivers with pre DirectX 8 games.

The heatsink on the 6200 probably rocks around because the chip has the small exposed die whereas the 5200 is the older design enclosed in plastic with a central metal heatspreader. So the 5200 is a much larger surface for the heatsink to sit against. I would check the state of the paste on the 6200 but the mount should be fine even if wobbly.

You might want to set up an XP partition as well. It is very likely to be more stable in general and driver behavior may vary too. Really the main reason to go with Win9x is if you have hardware that doesn't work well with XP. And also it is often a good idea to limit Win9x to DirectX 7.0a because VXD-based drivers can cause instability beyond that.

Reply 9 of 10, by Dracolich

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Thanks, swaaye. That's good to know about the driver and heatsinks. It still has paste, some AS5 I put on it when I got it. I can see it when I look from the side with the heatsink tilted, looks gummy. The card was used by a smoker so it had a bunch of that thick dust to be cleaned off.

I might go to Windows 2000 some day, or try ME since I've never tried it before, but trying to stay with 98. 98 was always a personal favorite partly because I like having DOS underneath, and the unoffical SP adds some nice USB support. I don't think I can justify multibooting on this box.

Reply 10 of 10, by Dracolich

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It's been a while but I finally got back to using this Win98 machine and made some recent discoveries. As it was in September with the FX5200 it booted and games were playing. However, when copying files from a USB disk or installing something from CDs I ran into a lot of hard lockups. Also, often when descending into sibdirectories in Explorer it still did the blank screen thing. The most recent thing, though, was when trying to open a MS-DOS prompt window it threw an error about "Not enough memory".

I checked the properties from the Explorer icon and it showed 547MB RAM. I made a mistake when listing the specs of the machine. It has 2GB total RAM installed, but using XMSDSK from AUTOEXEC.BAT to reserve the top 1.5GB in a ramdisk so Win98 sees <512MB. I tweaked the amount that XMSDSK reserves until the properties showed 511MB and that got the DOS prompt working but still had the other problems.

To make a long story short, XMSDSK is fooling Windows enough to let it start, but it is still unstable. I finally removed the 2x1GB and installed a single 512MB, disabled XMSDSK, and now the problems are gone. I also switched to the GF6200 with the 77.72 driver and all is good.