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Thread: Filling the DOS gap of the at that time so-called Windows Accelerator SVGA cards

  1. #1

    Default Filling the DOS gap of the at that time so-called Windows Accelerator SVGA cards

    Hello retro friends!

    I was wondering...

    Remember that in the good old days we were all puzzled by the following to be or not to be situation:

    Either go with older SVGA cards which are great for DOS performance and DOS games (of course the first example that comes up is the Tseng ET4000), but suffer under Windows 3.xx, Windows 3.xx games, and slightly more modern games
    Or go with the at the time brand new novelty "windows accelerator" SVGA cards (S3, Number Nine, and companies, etc.) but suffer slower performances under DOS and DOS games. At this regard I reviewed tons of benchmarks on very old PC magazines and saw that all the beautiful Windows Accelerator cards really sucked under DOS.

    I was wondering:
    Going a little "over" time and installing in a 486 and a P1 system (MS-DOS 6.22 and Win 3.11 for workgroup) a PCI SVGA that is a little mode modern (less retro), like that for those '90-'93 years would really be like a beast, would brute-force DOS performances in such a way that, even if it is a "windows accelerator" graphic card (Actually even more modern), and even if the whatever old DOS apps and games do not have specific drivers, via brute force it would still give astonishing performances and completely fill the gap, as if there was installed the bestest of the best ever MS-DOS SVGA card and, for each DOS game and app, such card having the specific drivers?
    Like, even if the card's not optimized, the drivers are generic, so that DOS game whatever (even 3D) would have to have the SVGA make nutty turns to get from A to B instead of going in a straight line, who cares, the DOS-relative gazillioned clock or computing power of the card would compensate and pass the requrements, more or less...

    If so, what would that (or those) card(s) be, without going TOOOOO modern, and with an eye con crash-issues prevention?

    Thanks a lot!

  2. #2

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    If you want to play late DOS games (around 1998), then yes, you need a Pentium, probably even Pentium II, with a PCI SVGA + Voodoo.
    Earlier games will also run OK, with the exception for those timing-sensitive ones.
    And forget about the earliest PC games, ie. those for 8088@4.77MHz and CGA - most will run too fast, or exhibit problems due to poor CGA compatibility, or both.

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks Xacalite!

    Oh no, 1998 is way too late stuff.
    My focus is on 1991-1995 more or less.

    But not necessarily "games", I mean everything.

    Back in those days, as "Windows Accelerator" graphic cards and "coprocessor" graphic cards were being released (S3 911, Cirrus Logic GD5426 and GD5428, Number9 128 bit, etc.), people and labs started testing and running benchmarks.
    The benchmark results in Windows-like "environments" (and in Windows 3.1 and 3.11 of course) were stunning at almost all resolutions. But the DOS Benchmarks were much SLOWER if compared with the same DOS Benchmarks (same computer, CPU, etc.) using slightly older Frame Buffer SVGAs like the Tseng ET4000/xx and few others.

    So, basically, the heart of my question was:

    A SVGA card that, although is a "Windows Accelerator" card which is that fast in Windows and Windows-like software, can still achieve those higher benchmark results that the previous DOS-specific best SVGA cards were able to achieve.

  4. #4

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    1991-1995 would include games such as Witchaven, so go for Pentium.
    And don't worry about speed - a Pentium box with an average PCI graphics is definitely fast enough for any game from that period.
    Worry about compatibility - some cards (usually those advanced and expensive ones) may exhibit problems with some games - https://gona.mactar.hu/DOS_TESTS/
    Don't over-design your gaming machine by installing the best of the best components, as most people back in the era only had average hardware, so games were made for such average gear.

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AriesMu View Post
    Oh no, 1998 is way too late stuff.
    My focus is on 1991-1995 more or less.
    I have a large collection of games from the 1992 - 1994 period:

    Terminator 2029
    Seven Cities of Gold
    A-10 Tank Killer
    Mystic Towers
    Alone in the Dark
    Ambush at Sorinor
    The Elder Scrolls: ARENA
    Battle Chess 4000
    BloodNet
    The Blue and The Grey -- Civil War/Military Simulator.
    The Bard's Quest I
    Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold
    Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space
    Shadow Caster
    Civilization Master Edition
    Comanche : Maximum Overkill Enhanced
    Comanche Missions Disk 2
    Corridor 7
    Caeser DELUXE
    Dark Legions
    Darklands
    Darksun - The Shattered Lands
    Stephen Kings - The Dark Half
    Detroit
    DOOM v1.1
    COMMERCIAL DOOM.WAD v1.0 Extra-Hard
    DOOM - Nine New Levels
    DOOM - New Sounds taken from "Aliens" You MUST have the Doom Audio Editor.
    DOOM - Put in Barney the dinosaur
    DOOM - Add-on .wad for "Doom Beast"
    DOOM - Beavis and Butthead audio patch
    DOOM - Professional AddOn for Level 2
    DOOM - Hall of Fame: 17 .LMP files of Battles
    DOOM - Use to install the HARD version.
    DOOM - Deathmatch scenario: Hellsinki
    DOOM - Editing Utilities v2.0 - Map Editor
    DDOO - Deathmatch scenario
    DOOM - The Best Graphical Editor
    DOOM - DATAfix 1.0c - Removes dir C:\DOOMDATA
    DOOM - Editor - The Real Thing v2.60b
    DOOM - Editor v4.0
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    DOOM - Faq (Fequently Asked Questions) v5.0
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    DOOM - Ghetto Patch - Changes sounds.
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    DOOM - Many Modem Init strings, even USR.
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    RunDOOM v2.2 - Front end shell for DOOM 1.2
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    DOOM - Utilities: Inc. Savegame Format
    Day of The Tenticle
    Might and Magic V : Dark Side of Xeen
    Might and Magic V - Crack/Patch
    Might and Magic V - Save Game Editor
    Might and Magic V - Trainer +???
    Dune I
    Dungeon Master
    Dungeon Hack
    Frontier Elite
    Empire Deluxe
    Entity
    Eye of the Beholder I
    Eye of the Beholder ][
    Eye of the Beholder ]I[
    F-14 Fleet Defender
    Falcon 3.0
    Mig-29 - Falcon 3.0 Data Disk
    Fantasy Empires
    Final Fight
    Front Page Sports Football Pro
    Microsoft Flight Simulator v5.0
    Microsoft Flight Simulator - AddOn
    The Great War!
    Hand of Fate 2 - Kyrandia ][
    Hand of Fate 2 - Kyrandia ][
    Isle of the Dead
    King's Quest 6
    Betrayal at Krondor
    Lemmings ][ - The Tribes
    Links Golf 386
    Lands of Lore
    Mantis Experimental Fighter
    Speech Pack/Mantis Experimental Fighter
    Mortal Kombat
    Monopoly - Deluxe Addition
    NCAA
    NHL Hockey
    Great Naval Battles of North Atlantic
    Ultima VIII - PAGAN
    Spectre VR
    Pools of Darkness
    Populous ][
    Prince of Persia ][
    Privateer
    Protostar
    Patton Strikes Back
    Al-Qadim
    Ravenloft - Strahd's Possession
    Rome - Pathway to Power
    RailRoad Tycoon Deluxe ][
    Return to Zork
    Sim City 2000
    Strike Commander
    SSN-21 Seawolf
    Serf City - Life is Feudal
    Street Fighter ][ - Hyper Edition
    SimAnt by Maxis for DOS
    SimCity Classic
    SimEarth
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    Sim Health
    Microsoft Space Simulator
    Spear of Destiny
    Spectre
    Star Control ][
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    Star Trek: Judgement Rites
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    Ultima Underworld ][
    Forgotten Realms - Unlimited Adventures
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    Wing Commander I
    Wizardry 7
    Castle Wolfenstein
    World War ][
    Chuck Yeager's Flight Simulator
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Xacalite View Post
    1991-1995 would include games such as Witchaven, so go for Pentium.
    And don't worry about speed - a Pentium box with an average PCI graphics is definitely fast enough for any game from that period.
    Worry about compatibility - some cards (usually those advanced and expensive ones) may exhibit problems with some games - https://gona.mactar.hu/DOS_TESTS/
    Don't over-design your gaming machine by installing the best of the best components, as most people back in the era only had average hardware, so games were made for such average gear.
    Wow that's a strategic tip! Thanks!!!

    However, the thing is that the main purpose here is not mere gaming. Surely it also is. But the main concept is to be able to assemble the best PCs possible for the following platforms:

    486 DX2 66
    Pentium 60
    Pentium 90
    Pentium 120 or 100

  7. #7

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    oh man you got games!!!!! wow!

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AriesMu View Post
    However, the thing is that the main purpose here is not mere gaming. Surely it also is. But the main concept is to be able to assemble the best PCs possible for the following platforms:

    486 DX2 66
    Pentium 60
    Pentium 90
    Pentium 120 or 100
    All of them are available with PCI, so you can install even stuff like GeForce2 MX400 with 64 MB RAM.
    Which even seems mostly OK for DOS games.
    If something runs too slow, it will be due to slow CPU (especially in the case of 486), not video.

  9. #9

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    Great, thanks.

    Yeah don't worry about the 486. It's a ISA-only machine, pros and cons of using branded PCs (Compaq Prolinea 4/66).
    With that I just have to answer the million dollar question: Tseng ET4000/W32 which is built-in on the motherboard under a "local bus" (as per manufacturer spec sheet), but not clear enough about the specifics of this "local bus" (32 bit??? 33 MHz? or what?) or if to go with an ISA card... but I'd hate to have to relay on the ISA bus. But this is another story.

  10. #10

    Default

    Also, it should be noted that all those comparisions like S3 911 (accelerated in Windows, but poor in DOS) vs. Tseng ET4000AX (non-accelerated, but good in DOS) are only important for ISA cards.
    See eg. the GRAPHICS BOARD COMPARISON CHART at https://www.microlabs.com/
    Most PCI cards easily outrace even the best ISA cards, both in DOS and Windows.

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