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Thread: Need help choosing a VGA card for turbo XT system

  1. #1

    Default Need help choosing a VGA card for turbo XT system

    Hi - I have the opportunity to choose one of three different XT-compatible 16-bit ISA VGA cards, to put in my Epson Apex Plus turbo XT system. All three cards have been tested to work fine in an IBM PC, but I thought I would just post here in case someone knows one card to be better in some way than the others.

    The three cards are:
    • Oak Technology OTI-077
    • Tseng ET4000AX
    • Prisma VGART 800+


    Anyone a fan of any particular card? Thanks for the input!

  2. #2

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    I'm a big fan of the Tseng ET4000. They were ahead of their time in terms of throughput and outperform most other chipsets from the era.

    Although on a XT class machine this isn't as important; your major bottleneck is the CPU. All the above will probably work equally well.
    System 80 Expansion Interface located! Thanks to all who helped out and the good people in the NZ vintage computer forums!

  3. #3

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    Thank you My biggest concern is hardware and software compatibility, after a bad experience with another VGA card that conflicted with the hard drive controller, which took me years to diagnose.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMaritimeMan View Post
    Thank you My biggest concern is hardware and software compatibility, ...
    There will always be a certain amount of risk. A money-back guarantee mitigates the risks.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheMaritimeMan View Post
    ... after a bad experience with another VGA card that conflicted with the hard drive controller, which took me years to diagnose.
    Was that the 'Possible ROM conflict - hard disk controller and VGA' subject described at [here] ?

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by modem7 View Post
    There will always be a certain amount of risk. A money-back guarantee mitigates the risks.
    Luckily the offer is free.

    Quote Originally Posted by modem7 View Post
    Was that the 'Possible ROM conflict - hard disk controller and VGA' subject described at [here] ?
    Yep, that's the issue. The TVGA8900CL nor the MFM controller have no way of changing the address, unfortunately.

  6. #6
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    I was a pretty solid Tsenglabs fan. I never cared much for the Oak cards.

  7. #7
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    I think these cards are pearls thrown in front of pigs... Most software which is made for XT will not use VGA modes but some CGA, MDA or EGA modes. Such a VGA card is ways faster than the XT can deliver the graphics data. They have more memory than the XT directly can adress plus it's own ressources. The only real benefit you win is that it's easier to connect a modern monitor. Consider reserving the best of these cards, the ET 4000, for a 386 or 486 system, that fit's better, pearl for the princess.

  8. #8
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    I agree that you don't need a high-performance VGA card in an XT. However, plenty of games for a turbo XT use either EGA, VGA or MCGA modes.
    EGA is very expensive and slow, it's simpler and cheaper to use VGA. It was like that even in the late 80s. I never had EGA, but I did upgrade my Commodore PC10-III with a Paradise VGA card. Not only did it allow me to play many games in EGA, VGA or MCGA mode, but the games generally also ran much faster than in CGA mode, because the advanced video standard allows more efficient rendering. So there are plenty of benefits to VGA in a turbo XT, I would say.
    Quite a few games played very well in EGA/VGA, such as Prince of Persia, Test Drive 1/2, Lemmings, Sierra adventures, Commander Keen etc.

  9. #9

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    I would go for a one based on Trident 8900/9000 or Realtek RTG3105 chipsets, they had an utillity to switch to a 100% CGA compatibility mode.

  10. #10

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    I run a ATi 38800-1 Graphics Ultra Mach8 SVGA adapter with 1.5MB of video memory - incredible card and compatible with everything I run, but then again, I run DOS and Windows 3.1 on my PC/XT

    Mike

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