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View Full Version : Recommend a good DOS GPU



TravisHuckins
July 25th, 2017, 07:18 PM
When I get my DOS PC back up and running I would wonder if there's something better than the Mach 64 PCI that I have installed (came with the PC). For some reason it couldn't do 640x480 in Quake even though I thought it was a VESA compatible card.

konc
July 25th, 2017, 11:46 PM
A lot swear by Riva 128 when it comes to 2D speed, DOS games compatibility and VESA.

Scali
July 26th, 2017, 12:10 AM
Nitpick: Not all video cards have a GPU.
A GPU is a self-sufficient programmable graphics processor, the first commercially available one being the nVidia GeForce 256.
Anything prior to that is just a 'video chip' (requiring assistance from the CPU to render images).

GiGaBiTe
July 26th, 2017, 01:27 AM
For some reason it couldn't do 640x480 in Quake even though I thought it was a VESA compatible card.

VESA is just a standardization of video modes, it doesn't have anything to do with any sort of video acceleration.

Assuming you're running the original Quake, all of the rendering is done in software on the host CPU using the floating point unit (which is why Quake requires an FPU.) In order to get any sort of respectable frame rate at 640x480, you're going to need a very fast CPU.

My original gaming machine in 1997 with a Pentium 200 MMX would run the game adequately at 320x200, but would be a slide show at 640x480. I later upgraded it to an AMD K6/2 400 which made 640x480 just barely playable.


Anything prior to that is just a 'video chip' (requiring assistance from the CPU to render images).

In the vintage gaming world, we usually call such things VDPs (video display processor) because they usually rely on the host CPU to do most functions. Some may have certain acceleration features like DMA, blitter, hardware sprites, etc. but are still referred to as VDPs.

Unknown_K
July 26th, 2017, 02:31 AM
While VESA modes will give you higher resolutions in games that support it, speeds on those old cards and slow CPUs will suffer greatly.

Riva 128 is a decent DOS performer. Matrox Millenium and Mystique also work well in DOS and are probably easier to find. I also love the Tseng ET6000. Some of the last generation S3 chipsets are also good.

bjt
July 26th, 2017, 03:40 AM
When I get my DOS PC back up and running I would wonder if there's something better than the Mach 64 PCI that I have installed (came with the PC). For some reason it couldn't do 640x480 in Quake even though I thought it was a VESA compatible card.

Excellent compatibility, good speed: S3 Trio-based e.g. Dell/STB Nitro 3D.
Excellent speed, good compatibility: 3dfx Voodoo 3, NVidia Riva/TNT/Geforce2 MX

The S3 Trio was the only one I've had that would run Terminator Skynet in high-res, for example.

cthulhu
July 26th, 2017, 06:21 AM
VESA is just a standardization of video modes, it doesn't have anything to do with any sort of video acceleration.

VESA BIOS Extensions 2.0 added support for linear framebuffer access which could be seen as a form of video acceleration, albeit done in software. It definitely improves performance in games that use it.

lyonadmiral
July 26th, 2017, 07:07 AM
Excellent compatibility, good speed: S3 Trio-based e.g. Dell/STB Nitro 3D.
Excellent speed, good compatibility: 3dfx Voodoo 3, NVidia Riva/TNT/Geforce2 MX

The S3 Trio was the only one I've had that would run Terminator Skynet in high-res, for example.

I have an S3 Trio64 available if you are looking...

TravisHuckins
July 26th, 2017, 09:06 AM
VESA is just a standardization of video modes, it doesn't have anything to do with any sort of video acceleration.

Assuming you're running the original Quake, all of the rendering is done in software on the host CPU using the floating point unit (which is why Quake requires an FPU.) In order to get any sort of respectable frame rate at 640x480, you're going to need a very fast CPU.

My original gaming machine in 1997 with a Pentium 200 MMX would run the game adequately at 320x200, but would be a slide show at 640x480. I later upgraded it to an AMD K6/2 400 which made 640x480 just barely playable.



In the vintage gaming world, we usually call such things VDPs (video display processor) because they usually rely on the host CPU to do most functions. Some may have certain acceleration features like DMA, blitter, hardware sprites, etc. but are still referred to as VDPs.

So with a 90 mhz Pentium 1 there's no point in trying to get 640x480?

Trixter
July 26th, 2017, 09:19 AM
It depends on the game, the video card speed you have installed, and whether or not the game and card supports VESA 2.0. In general, however, 640x480x256 or higher is not going to be enjoyable on a 90MHz system.

TravisHuckins
July 26th, 2017, 10:30 AM
I really need to build a Windows 9x system sometime then... I have a 2ghz Windows 7 32bit system that I use for most 9x games but there still are compatibility issues. I'll just have to play Quake using a Windows port (which I had been doing anyway since my DOS system is in a state of needing repair).

krebizfan
July 26th, 2017, 10:59 AM
NVidia stopped shipping Win98 drivers in 2005. I know the FX 5000 series performs well enough for the games I want to play on Win 98. I think 6000 series has Win98 drivers since they came out just as NVidia stopped driver development on Win98.

Place one of those (or ATI equivalent) in an AGP slot on a roughly 1 GHz Pentium III or Athlon competitor and have a good Win 98 box.

GiGaBiTe
July 26th, 2017, 01:01 PM
So with a 90 mhz Pentium 1 there's no point in trying to get 640x480?

Yeah, Quake is never going to run at playable frame rates at 640x480 on a Pentium 90, best stick to 320x200 or 320x240.

GLQuake in Windows might run at 640x480 if you have a Voodoo1/2, but it's known to be very buggy and look ugly.


I really need to build a Windows 9x system sometime then... I have a 2ghz Windows 7 32bit system that I use for most 9x games but there still are compatibility issues. I'll just have to play Quake using a Windows port (which I had been doing anyway since my DOS system is in a state of needing repair).

I think the Darkplaces engine is probably the most faithful port, while adding lots of additional features.

cthulhu
July 26th, 2017, 01:37 PM
It depends on the game, the video card speed you have installed, and whether or not the game and card supports VESA 2.0. In general, however, 640x480x256 or higher is not going to be enjoyable on a 90MHz system.

It varies greatly though. For example Duke Nukem 3D runs excellently on a Pentium 75 at 640x480x256 on probably any PCI graphics card. Played the hell out of that game when it came out like that. Graphics card was a Tseng Labs ET4000.