<CT> NE1 else with Matrox graphics? / longish blurb

  • From: JGrossklass@xxxxxxxxxxx (Stephan Grossklass)
  • To: calmira_tips@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 10 Aug 2003 21:40:04 +0200

Hiya folks,

(skip next paragraph if you're in hurry)

recently my (now former) 486 machine got a "new" case (and PSU). So far
so good, just when I had connected everything again I noticed that the
machine was very slow. And indeed, the L1 cache was off. That reminded
me of what I had read a while back: The 5x86-133 doesn't like some power
supplies and turns its L1 cache off. Unfortunately the PSU form factors
in the old and new case are not interchangeable and I rather like the
new case (though the fan in the PSU is rather powerful and loud), so
what to do? Since there were some issue issues as well - I had 64 megs
of RAM in that machine which had only been half cached, with no source
for 128Kx8 cache SRAMs needed for a L2 cache upgrade, and the SB16 PnP
was rather quirky too - I decided to dump "ye olde 486 shtuff" in spite
of VLB (bye bye *sniff*) and to pick up an offer I had gotten shortly
before: A Gigabyte GA-586HX rev. 1.53, 2nd tag SRAM installed and with
COM/LPT bracket, with a Pentium 133, cooler and a Matrox Mystique 2 MB,
all this for postage costs. Turns out all that stuff works perfectly
well with my two 128 meg PS/2 modules that were gathering dust since the
dually upgrade (just ECC/Parity appears wrongly implemented in the dated
BIOS), and cacheability is not an issue either. Now all that's missing
is the Ultra SCSI host adapter that should arrive next week, so I can
use the 'Cuda 4XL again. In the meantime I looked at what could be done
with IDE drives alone, and the first point was plain ol' MS-DOS 6.22,
which now runs exceptionally fast also thanks to the Triones busmaster
IDE drivers - finally an opportunity to try those (they only support
PIIX and PIIX3). I'd still have to use a newer himem.sys, but honestly,
even 64 megs of RAM is relatively plenty. As expected, the graphics card
is very speedy in VESA modes, managing almost 90 MB/s throughput.

The next candidate was WfW 3.11, which promptly told me that the
Mystique does not support the SVGA 800x600x16 driver, something I had
never seen before. (Dr. Hardware says the VGA engine is OTI based?)
Anyway, after fiddling with the drivers and setup tools from Matrox I
finally got 1152x864 in Hicolor, unfortunately only with 70 and not with
60 Hz which would be best for a TFT. The driver didn't impress me that
much - although the card is undoubtably very fast, I have problems with
glyph backgrounds and inactive taskbar button backgrounds; DCI video
acceleration seems to work OK but I have sound problems not solved by
increasing the I/O recovery time or adding a PCIChipset=1 entry to the
respective system.ini section (sound will drop out after a while). (No
bluescreen probs, though.) Any thoughts on this? Should there be no
solution, I could still use the ELSA WINNER 2000AVI-2 instead, certainly
not a bad card either. BTW the respective Triones busmaster drivers are
installed in WfW, too, which now boots up very speedy.

Finally, the older installs of WinNT 3.51 and 4.0 from before the
migration to the SCSI disk - here the transition went rather smoothly,
I've already enabled busmaster DMA transfers in NT4. MP3 playback gives
~20% load, but network transfers make themselves heard in the form of
pops - I guess I'll have to look out for a PCI NIC, 100 MBit ISA PIO
doesn't make much sense there anyway and will probably be replaced by a
100 MBit PCI busmaster card from 3Com or Intel. (I'll probably use the
older NT installs to revive those on the SCSI drive which don't know the
new SCSI HA yet.) 

I must say overall I'm quite impressed with the performance of this "new
old" machine - it feels like it's doing things easily. (And that's with
just the IDE disks, I'm eager on how fast the 'Cuda 4XL will be without
any bandwidth restrictions.) Also, it's really stunning how many support
issues miraculously vanish once you move from the VLB to the PCI world -
I had a hard time finding working NT 3.51 drivers for the old graphics
card (a mid-range thing which dated from early 1995), no such issues
with both the PCI cards I have.

Stephan
-- 
Home: http://stephan.win31.de/ | Webm.: http://www.i24.com/
PC#6: i440LX, 2xCel300A, 256 MB, 18 GB, ATI AGP 32 MB, 110W
      This is a SCSI-inside, Legacy-plus, TCPA-free computer :)
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