VOGONS


First post, by PhilsComputerLab

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So I'm back to working with 486 gear and MS-DOS 😀

I wanted to test all my ISA and VLB graphics cards on a 486DX2 66 and see how they all compare.

System specifications:

Biostar MB-1433/50UCV-D PCB VER: 2
8 MB 70 ns memory
256 KB 20 ns Cache
Intel 486DX2 66
BIOS defaults loaded
ISA IO controller

The 486 is an average system I would say. I tried faster Cache and memory timings but the system wasn't stable. Left it at BIOS defaults. The ISA bus speed is set to CPU Clock / 4 which gives 8.33... MHz.

Some graphics cards only have 256 KB of memory, so no results for SVGA. Other cards needed UNIVBE loaded, but even then some glitched out. Easy to see in the missing colours for those results! UNIVBE wouldn't work for the ET4000 to get PCP Bench SVGA going, but

Benchmarks run are:

- 3DBench 1.0
- 3DBbench 1.0c
- Chris' 3D Bench
- Chris' 3D Bench2 SVGA
- PCP Bench VGA
- PCP Bench SVGA
- Wolfenstein 3D
- Doom
- Quake

My thoughts:

- I don't have any higher end VLB cards, the CL cards are the best I got
- Looking on eBay, CL VLB cards are easy to find and not too pricey
- ET4000 or S3 VLB cards seem hard to find and / or expensive
- WD ISA card is the fastest by the tiniest of margins. It also doesn't need UNIVBE, the ET4000 does
- ET4000 also very fast
- ISA CL good performance
- Avoid very old looking cards and Trident / OAK cards
- OAK ISA card: The decelerator. Maybe useful for slowing down fast machines?

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Reply 1 of 22, by clueless1

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Interesting that the GD5429 is consistently faster than the GD5428, but the GD5424 is consistently slower than the GD5422. I would be surprised if VLB ET4000s or S3s could top the 5429. So guys: if you're building a 486 VLB system, save your money and buy up the CL cards that desperately need loving homes! 🤣.

That P9000 is pretty bad. I seem to remember it getting high marks in Windows benchmarks back in the day. But its DOS performance is kind of crappy.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 2 of 22, by PhilsComputerLab

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I think have 6 or so CL cards, and that was without looking for them. They just "came with" other stuff bundled.

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Reply 3 of 22, by Nipedley

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Great work!

I'm running a VLB S3 805 and would love to see where it falls in with your benchmarks. I have done some of my own that were slightly faster than you have the GD-5429 at, but of course it means nothing as the board/memory etc. could have an effect too. (10.6 PCP Bench VGA and 27fps in Doom)

I managed to pick up a Spea V7 Mirage VL (the S3 805) for only about 20 Euro, not so bad

Reply 4 of 22, by PhilsComputerLab

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Nipedley wrote:

Great work!

I'm running a VLB S3 805 and would love to see where it falls in with your benchmarks.

Yea me too 😀

I'll keep my eye out, but I think all the good VLB cards are with hoarders now 😊

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Reply 5 of 22, by TheMobRules

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Interesting results. I've always wondered if the price of "high-end" VLB cards such as the ET4000 or S3 Vision is only due to how rare the cards are, or if you can actually get noticeable performance increases in games (not benchmark tools) by using one of those cards.

I have a CL GD5430 which should perform similar to its 28/29 counterparts, it seems good enough but I would like to try one of those high-end cards at some point, provided I can find one at a non absurd price.

Reply 6 of 22, by Nipedley

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What are considered the 'high end' VLB cards? When I was looking to put my system together I read about a VLB version of the ET4000 but was never able to find any for sale.

I actually have 2 S3 805 VLB cards but one of them is broken (I have a thread open for tips on repairs) if I manage to repair it then it's yours Phil

Reply 7 of 22, by PhilsComputerLab

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Yea basically ET4000 and S3 cards.

Yea that would be cool, hopefully you can get it going 😊

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Reply 8 of 22, by keropi

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really like these old school benchmarks, on my 486/100 setup I use a WD90C33 VLB vga - a CL5428 is a little slower. I like both equally but they are just generic cards, nothing special...

🎵 🎧 PCMIDI MPU , Orpheus Soundcard , Action Rewind and Megacard website

💻 WTB Amstrad PC7486SLC-33

Reply 9 of 22, by einr

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Cool stuff, thanks for this. Recently I benched the S3 805 against a VLB CL-GD5430 and the S3 is significantly faster at Doom and 3DBENCH2, so it would be cool to see some faster cards thrown into the mix as well. (What retro activity did you get up to today?)

Reply 10 of 22, by soviet conscript

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my benchmarks from my Intel 66mhz dx2 and a VLB ET4000 are very comparable with your CL-GD5429.

3D Bench - 42.2
PCP Bench - 9.5
DOOM - 25.2
Quake 5.8

But I'm using a different motherboard with a different chipset and memory settings so its a pretty invalid comparison I suppose.

Reply 12 of 22, by kanecvr

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I performed similar tests on a DX4 and got slightly diferent results. In my tests the Paradise cards (WDC) got a 5% lead in PCP bench and 10% in doom over the ET4000AX. Also, not all ET4000AX cards are created equal. Some are faster then others. It depends greatly on chip revisions and memory. Later cards are up to 10% faster then early models. Late CL isa cards are on par with the ET4000 in DOS, but a lot faster in windows. Lastly, your Trident 9000i benches are quite a bit off from mine. My card scored a bit faster then the CL5424 in your tests - but there's great performance difference between Trident 9000 cards. Some have crappy slow ram and a minimalist design - stay away from these. My fastest 9000i (only one I kept) is up to 30% faster then other similar cards with the same chipset. The only physical difference I spotted is that the faster card uses a different revision chip and EDO vram.

It's also unfair to stigmatize trident cards - some cards are actually very fast. Most VLB cards perform great in DOS and windows, and late model ISA cards equipped with EDO vram are worth looking into. Besides, a WDC or ET4000 card isn't really gonna speed up your 386 much - a much cheaper 9000/9400 should perform the same. I'll run some benches on my 386 to back up my claims. Do keep an eye out for mid 90's PCI trident cards - they're great for dos. Not as fast as a trio3d, but just as compatible. PCI trident, cirrus logic, WDC paradise (ARK) and S3 cards are the most compatible things out there for DOS games. Paradise PCI cards (Bali 32 and Barbados 64) are quite rare and pretty fast. Some have WDC chips, others ARK Logic. There's even a VLB version of the ISA WD90C33 - and boy - VLB it's where it shows it's muscles.

Reply 14 of 22, by PhilsComputerLab

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That would be interesting indeed. I'm still working on an improved benchmark pack, but here is the old one: http://www.philscomputerlab.com/uploads/3/7/2 … _type_bench.zip

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Reply 15 of 22, by Robin4

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I have different S3 vlb cards here.. 805, 928, and the other ones, also trio64 vlb.
On the Tseng i have one normal ET4000VLB, and the rest is ET4000/32I or P.
Also got two Mach32`s VLB and some cirrus logic.

Also i have Mach32 ISA, one S3 928 ISA, and ET4000, ET4000 /32I p ISa.

~ At least it can do black and white~

Reply 16 of 22, by PhilsComputerLab

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Nice, yea I would love to get some results for these. I can always update the charts later 😀

Other things worth mentioning:

- Some cards have jumpers. The Speedstar 24X is nicely labelled, there is one for IRQ2, one for zero wait states and one to enable 16 bit. Removing some of these jumpers can lower performance, so check whatever card you have. Most aren't labelled so you
- One of the VLB card has a zero wait state jumper, but the cards fails several tests, the slower mode resolves this
- Dip switches. Some cards have those. On the Speedstar 24X it sets the refresh rate at certain resolutions. But maybe also colour modes or something like that
- Memory. 256 KB is sufficient for VGA, but not enough to run 640x480. The faster cards like the WD 90C31 and ET4000 support 1 MB which is nice. For memory chips I usually help myself from another card, haven't looked for a source to buy just the chips

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Reply 17 of 22, by Jolaes76

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Here is an other point of reference, benched on an AMD 5X86 133MHZ@200MHz CPU 😀
The article is in Hungarian but quoting Depeche Mode, "the graph on the wall tells the story of it all"
Just click on the pics.

http://bacsis-tuning.hu/2012/05/vesa-buszos-v … kartyak-tesztje

Performance and compatibility both are very different for VLB VGAs, some fast Windows 2D accelerators are only mediocre DOS performers and vice versa.

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

Reply 18 of 22, by PhilsComputerLab

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Nice! Thank you 😀

It does show that the S3 and ET4000 VLB are a bit faster, not by much, but faster, so that is very good to know 😁

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Reply 19 of 22, by Imperious

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Will be interesting to see what results You get when moving up to PCI cards in this series.
I just got 31.5 FPS in Doom with Intel dx2-66, S3 trio 64 2MB, 64MB edo ram. Sound on.

My first PC was a VLB (Cirrus 5428 1MB) equipped 486 with Intel dx2-66 and this is noticeably faster than I remember that being.

Atari 2600, TI994a, Vic20, c64, ZX Spectrum 128, Amstrad CPC464, Atari 65XE, Commodore Plus/4, Amiga 500
PC's from XT 8088, 486, Pentium MMX, K6, Athlon, P3, P4, 775, to current Ryzen 5600x.