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3D Card Advice

Posted on 2000-05-15
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
This is my pc:
( windows 95 OSR2 with updated comctl,usb,msdun etc.. )
( Directx 7.0a, Directx Media 6)

- Epox P2-133a motherboard (133mhz bus, AGP 2x)
- Pentium II 400 Mhz (not celeron)
- 256 MB SDRAM pc-100 (100mhz)
- 10.8 Gb Fujitsu UDMA33 hard disk
- Sound Blaster PCI 128 4spk
- Hitachi DVD 4x etc..
- VIDEO CARD:

I currently have an S3 Trio3D/2X LC2X, (AGP 2x, 4MB)
I have found this information about my card:

The S3 Trio3D/2X (LC2X) integrated 3D video/graphics accelerator and support either 2X (133MHz) or 1X (66MHz) AGP pipeline DMA mode for high 3D rendering performance.  By bus mastering texture data at over twice the speed of convention PCI buses, AGP DMA reduces the amount of CPU overhead while improving 3D rendering performance.  Especially the enhanced S3d Engine provides improved 2D acceleration for excellent Windows application performance and a full-feature high-performance 3D rendering for realistic user experience in games and other interactive 3D applications.  The S3 Trio3D/2X supports S3 Streams Processor technology features such as vertical interpolation and color controls for high quality video playback.  It allow simultaneous display of graphic and video of different color depths.  This save memory bandwith and storage capacity while permitting higher frame rates.

Integrated 2D/3D graphics and Video Accelerator
¨ 64-bit 2D/3D graphics engine
¨ Memory clock up to 100MHz of SGRAM/SDRAM
¨ Integrate 230MHz RAMDAC with gamma correction
¨ 133MHz AGP support
¨ 66MHz AGP pipeline DMA mode
S3d Graphics Engine
¨ High performance 2D engine acceleration
¨ Flat and Gouraud shading for 3D
¨ High quality 3D texture mapping
¨ Perspective correction
¨ Bi-linear and tri-linear texture filtering
¨ MIP-Mapping, depth cueing, fogging, alpha blending
¨ Video texture mapping
¨ Z-buffering
S3 Stremms Processor Technology
¨ Supports on-the-fly stretching and blending of primary RGB stream and RGB or YUV (video) sceondary stream
¨ Each stream can have different colors depths
¨ High-quality video playback with horizotal and vertical interpolation
¨ Brightness, hue, saturation controls  
Full Software Support
¨ Driver for major operating system and APIS.  [Windows 95/98, Window NT (4.0/5.0-ICD)]
¨ Bundle with software media player of CDWizard
Green PC/Monitor Plug and Play Support
¨ DPMS monitor power saving modes support
¨ DDC monitor communications

-------------------------------------------------------

With it, I can play i.e.
- MDK in Direct3D mode and it's quite good..
- Motoracer in D3D mode, speed is great but many
  things such as trees and smoke are a black square
  since the card doesn't support transparencies
- UNREAL in SOFTWARE mode at 800x600 (with a few options
  like coronas, shiny surfaces etc) .. playable
  in D3D mode there are a few bugs..
- QUAKE2 at 800x600 in software mode is ok
- PSEMU PRO (psx emulator) with software renderer
  (kazzuya) doesn't work bad.. the speed is not
  so bad and graphics are about 70% ok
- BLEEM (psx emu) .. software mode.. ok D3D mode doesn't work..
- IMPACT (emu) playable is soft. mode
- N64 emu's .. really slow and totally unplayable
- Tomb Raider 3 .. software mode only.. at 640x480, a bit slow
- Carmageddon II in software mode only (32x240), Direct 3D mode
  at 640x480 is really slow..
- Final Fantasy 7 in 640x480.. is playable..
- Quake3 - not tested yet

ok, I want to buy a 3D card to be able to play all those
games and new ones in 3dfx or glide or whatever of those
modes with High Resolution and all the features etc..

- 1st question: is the 3D card a normal card ? I mean
  does it have Screen output ? I mean, will it replace
  my current video card or is it just an add to the system ?

- 2nd will the 3d card be better in all aspects than
  my current card ? my card is AGP 2x ..

- 3rd in case the 3d card will replace the main one..
  can I have them both in my system and *switch* them
  when I want ? (win95 osr2)

These are the cards from which I'm gonna choose:

VGA COLOR MAX      16MB S3 SAVAGE4 3D AGP  - Around  50 us$
VGA S3 SAVAGE 4    32 Mb. AGP              - Around  73 us$
VGA COLOR MAX      32MB M64 RIVA TNT2 AGP  - Around  80 us$
VGA COLOR MAX      32MB SYS300 LIFE300 AGP - Around  96 us$
VGA ATI XPERT 2000 32Mb.. AGP              - Around  90 us$
VGA MATROX G-400   16Mb.. AGP              - Around 104 us$

I can't spend much than that on the card..

so.. what's your advice ?

thanks.
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Question by:bryan7
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kannabis earned 100 total points
ID: 2812915
The 32MG M64 Riva TNT2 AGP card is very highly recommended by many people.  You can check out a review at http://www7.tomshardware.com/graphic/99q1/990312/index.html.

I would say go with that card.  It will fill all your needs and more.

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Expert Comment

by:kannabis
ID: 2812918
Oh, I almost forgot....As far as having both cards in the system you can do that, but it's not really worth it unless you really want to run two monitors.  I wouldn't bother, the TNT card will be much better than the previous one.

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by:bryan7
ID: 2812967
but what about AGP x ? mine is AGP 2X ..
and that tnt is 1x.. will the D3D features that are in my
card be in the new one also ?
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Author Comment

by:bryan7
ID: 2812968
but what about AGP x ? mine is AGP 2X ..
and that tnt is 1x.. will the D3D features that are in my
card be in the new one also ?

how would I switch the cards having both installed ?
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by:bryan7
ID: 2812970
also.. note that it says "color max" ..
does it mean it's another card using the tnt2 chip ?

VGA COLOR MAX      32MB M64 RIVA TNT2 AGP
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Expert Comment

by:kannabis
ID: 2813069
There are many manufacturers using the TNT chip.  It doesn't mean it's a new card all together.  This card has the same features as your previous card and more, if you read the article you'd notice that this card supports AGP 4X.  Read the second paragrah on this page, http://www7.tomshardware.com/graphic/99q1/990312/nvidia-01.html There is no reason why you would want to switch between the cards.  The TNT2 has much more power & memory than your S3 card, so like I said, unless you want to use 2 monitors.  If you want to see how your card would stack up to the TNT2, check the game performace of your card with the quake demo and compare it to the stats of the TNT2 posted on the site
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by:bryan7
ID: 2813113
Been looking for 1h to the pages.. great site!
I saw tnt2 has no glide support.. is that important ?
also saw in the pic the fan.. is it noisy ?

as far as I've seen.. I think I'm convinced to get the
TNT2.. I'll wait a pair more of days to hear more opinions.. thanks a lot

about cards switching.. I'd still like to know if it's possible under win95 osr2..
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Expert Comment

by:pjknibbs
ID: 2813334
bryan7: Glide is a proprietary API designed specifically for use with the Voodoo cards from 3Dfx--therefore, *none* of your listed cards support it. This isn't a problem for most games, although there are a couple (like Ultima IX: Ascension) which were written for Glide and don't work so well in Direct3D mode.

As for card switching...how exactly do you intend to fit *two* AGP cards into your PC? AGP is not a bus, like PCI--it's a *port*, and therefore you will only ever have one physical AGP slot on your machine. If you think you can cram two cards into a single slot, good luck to you. Rest assured, *any* modern 3D card will support everything your clanky old S3 Trio does, and plenty of stuff it doesn't--there is absolutely no point in keeping the old card.
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by:bryan7
ID: 2842561
yeah what was I thinking .. =?

I finally bought the TNT2 and it really roocks it's great ! thanks
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by:bryan7
ID: 2842563
Comment accepted as answer
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