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This forum is part of our mission to promote the preservation of vintage computers through education and outreach. (In real life we also run events and have a museum.) We encourage you to join us, participate, share your knowledge, and enjoy.

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"Better" 486 Video / Graphics Cards

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  • Anonymous Coward
    replied
    Sure, there are plenty of ET4000 cards. Were you trying to show us an ET4000W32 for EISA bus? I couldn't see one in the list you provided. Actually, I seem to remember such a card existing...but it's not really worth tracking down. The ET4000W32 doesn't do interleaved memory, so at best all you're looking at is improved Windows performance. I'd rather have an S3 928 card personally.

    Leave a comment:


  • High_Treason
    replied
    Looks like such a card did exist.

    I was curious so I Googled it, now you've got something for the wish list.

    There's a few around, found out by looking at this; http://stason.org/TULARC/pc/graphics...l#.UWJ6YaCbUeF

    Leave a comment:


  • Shadow Lord
    replied
    Originally posted by Anonymous Coward View Post
    It's true that any VL card can blow any ISA vga card out of the water regarding speed. But...it's simply not true that all VLB cards give about the same level of DOS performance. If you're just running Sierra games you don't need much more than an ISA card and 256kb RAM. But if you are running 3D games or high-res stuff from the 94-96 period, you find some cards run much better than others.

    If you want an ET4000W32P card for VLB, I can get you one for about $17 plus shipping. Probably about $30 in all. Card is untested though.
    AC not sure if this is directed at me but if it is while I agree certain cards are better then others (i.e. a S3 VLB card kicks the crap out of a Trident VLB card) my point was much more speed/performance was gained by changing the bus then the card. I.E. any POS PCI card would beat out even the best ISA and probably most if not all VLB cards.

    As for the ET4000W32 thanks for the offer. But I don't have any VLB systems. I have ISA for my 386 and below, EISA for my 486, and PCI (or better) from then on. Before I could get on the VLB bandwagon it had already passed an PCI was in full vogue (my upgrade cycle went like this: 5160 -> generic 486/33 -> self built Pentium 200MMX that took from ~1988 to 2003). I maybe interested in an ISA (not sure how beneficial it would be in a 386sx-16) one and as I said I would salivate at a EISA one but I don't believe such a beat ever existed.

    Thanks again...

    Leave a comment:


  • Anonymous Coward
    replied
    It's true that any VL card can blow any ISA vga card out of the water regarding speed. But...it's simply not true that all VLB cards give about the same level of DOS performance. If you're just running Sierra games you don't need much more than an ISA card and 256kb RAM. But if you are running 3D games or high-res stuff from the 94-96 period, you find some cards run much better than others.

    If you want an ET4000W32P card for VLB, I can get you one for about $17 plus shipping. Probably about $30 in all. Card is untested though.

    Leave a comment:


  • Agent Orange
    replied
    Diamond Speedstar VLB Pro is my choice for one of 486 machines. It comes with 1 MB on-board and the Cirrus GD5428 chipset. It will run any DOS game that you can throw at it and gets great results while achieving 1024x768 @ 256 colors. If you're running WIN95/WIN98, drivers are no problem and are natively supported. Check out this link: http://www.ebay.com/itm/DIAMOND-Spee...item3cd043c3ba

    Leave a comment:


  • Shadow Lord
    replied
    DOS video cards were pretty close on the same BUS. To see real improvement you had to upgrade your bus. I remember when VLB came about and it just blew ISA video cards out of the water. Then PCI came about and DOS performance was just maxed out.

    Based on the BUS I'd recommend the following (which seems inline with what others are saying):

    ISA: Tseng ET4000 - it is fast and compatible. Plus cheap. You can hang out and wait for an ET4000W32, they exist but in 5 years I have not seen one for sale. But then again I have not looked very hard.
    EISA: Not much here. Even though there was potential most of it was used for NICs and SCSI cards. EISA was mostly in the server space so graphics were neglected. Your two best choices are either the Elsa Winner 2000 or miro 32S card. Both have 4MB of VRAM and are based on S3 chips. I have not found much difference between the two (although I have done no formal testing) except in windows where the miro card supports much higher resolutions. I would love to see an EISA ET4000/W32 based card but I don't think one was ever produced.
    VLB: Tseng ET4000W32i.
    PCI: Any early NVidia or the 3dfx banshee card. By then just about everything for DOS was accelerated in these chip sets. I'd personally go banshee to get DOS 3D compatibility due to 3dfx's early domination of the market.
    AGP: see PCI - although I don't know if there were any 486 or even low end Pentium AGP systems...

    You can still apparently buy NEW ISA/VLB Tseng cards from these guys for an expensive price. But you get support.... :/
    Last edited by Shadow Lord; April 7, 2013, 08:08 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Anonymous Coward
    replied
    There are pretty substantial differences between the ET4000, ET4000W32 and ET4000W32i/p. The performance of the latter is quite a bit better than the two former. For a VLB version of the card I wouldn't pay more than $20. You can still get them for that price if you're patient (like willing to wait a year perhaps). If you want it immediately, you're probably looking at $50.

    Leave a comment:


  • Smack2k
    replied
    I will be playing games in DOS on the 486...

    What is a good price to find either a ET4000 or Cirrus Logic card?

    I have an ET4000 PCI card, but that of course wont go in the 486 ISA board.

    Leave a comment:


  • Anonymous Coward
    replied
    I haven't found Trio64 to be near the level of ET4000W32P or ARK1000 under DOS (though supposedly very compatible). It's probably a better card than either of those under Windows though.

    Leave a comment:


  • Hatta
    replied
    Originally posted by orion24 View Post
    Personally I have the S3 Trio 64 in VLB that should be pretty close to the best VLB. I wanted the S3 968 version that comes with VRAM, but the last auction for one of these went beyond what I was willing to pay
    This is what I was going to suggest. Mine is branded a Diamond Stealth 64 DRAM T. The Tseng cards might be marginally faster, but the S3's compatibility can't be beat. I have a Cirrus Logic card, 5426 based IIRC, and it cut about 5% off of my framrates in DOOM. The S3's picture quality is flawless, and it works perfectly in demanding DOS side scrollers like Jazz Jackrabbit, and Dangerous Dave 3.

    Leave a comment:


  • njroadfan
    replied
    Originally posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    I'd assumed that it was going to be under Windows, but maybe that's not warranted. I've got a Tsenglabs something-or-the-other in my 486 box in VLB. Seems to be okay. Wish I could remember the chipset, though. 4MB RAM.

    Really, any card is going to suck in 16-bit DOS mode. Things start to fly when you can use a 32-bit instruction set.
    Its likely a Tseng ET4000/W32p, one of the fastest cards under DOS. The Diamond Viper uses a slow VGA chip hooked up to the ISA bus, so plain VGA stuff was slow. It was sluggish even in 32-bit protected mode DOS games. UniVBE was a godsend with that board, mostly because of Diamond's lousy VBE1.2 implementation.

    Leave a comment:


  • Unknown_K
    replied
    I think the Tseng ET4000 chipset could only use up to 2MB of RAM on VLB (and 2MB was much faster then 1MB because of interleaving). Cards did make a difference in DOS gaming, some early 3S chips were so slow, same with generic Trident cards. Back when there used to be local computer shows at the metroplex they used to have 486 VLB systems up and running DOOM 2 in a loop and most of those used cheap but decent late edition Cirrus Logic chips. Early ATI cards were screamers in Windows but slow as hell in DOS. The Weitek cards were fast in 256 color mode in Windows but other cards were faster when using more color at the same resolution.

    Leave a comment:


  • Chuck(G)
    replied
    Originally posted by njroadfan View Post
    These cards were pretty awful performance wise in DOS. Remember, they are really two video cards in one, basically a VGA card with a dedicated graphics accelerator chip (The P9000 or P9100). They used a crappy Oak or Weitek 5186 chip for bog standard VGA support and VESA BIOS Extension support required a DOS TSR in order to work right. The Weitek P9000/P9100 with proper Windows drivers was very advanced for its time however.

    http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~torsten/viper/index.html
    I'd assumed that it was going to be under Windows, but maybe that's not warranted. I've got a Tsenglabs something-or-the-other in my 486 box in VLB. Seems to be okay. Wish I could remember the chipset, though. 4MB RAM.

    Really, any card is going to suck in 16-bit DOS mode. Things start to fly when you can use a 32-bit instruction set.

    Leave a comment:


  • badmofo
    replied
    I've tried a range or cards lately and, for a system that's simply aimed at DOS games (non SVGA) I settled on a humble cirrus logic with 1mb. I tried Trident, S3, ATi, Tseng, etc and none had the image quality + compatibility of the cirrus logic. Speed isn't really a factor for 2D vga.

    Leave a comment:


  • orion24
    replied
    Personally I have the S3 Trio 64 in VLB that should be pretty close to the best VLB. I wanted the S3 968 version that comes with VRAM, but the last auction for one of these went beyond what I was willing to pay

    Leave a comment:

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