S3 Virge

Discussion in '3D Hardware, Software & Output Devices' started by Simon82, Feb 8, 2007.

  1. Simon82

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    Hi,

    in my various retrogaming tests, I've tried lot of time the so many times obscured S3 Virge based card that lot of people was renaming as decelerator because 3D rendering hardware acceleration was affected by poor frame rate in comparison with software rendering.
    Well, in my test I've tried a OpenGL32.dll customized for original GLQuake and I was shocked to see that with this minigl subset (I think that being not supported OpenGL extensions, this dll built by S3 itself was a wrapper to call Directx (few) supported calls instead of OpenGl minimun ones) this card accelerate the game at 640x480 with real texture filtering and generally a good image quality (also with a ~<>10 fps goal in mind).
    Did you remember it? I think that S3 Virge was really a good accelerator talking about features supported when there were no alternatives in the 3d card panorama.

    Soon I'll upload some screenshots.
     
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  2. K.I.L.E.R

    K.I.L.E.R Retarded moron
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    I had an S3 Virge and while there was support in a few games for it's "acceleration" which to me didn't seem to make any difference, it was completely unusable under GLQuake.
    I was stuck at < 1fps. :/
     
  3. Simon82

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    I think there was a problem.. I get somethin about average 5-8fps. :shock:
     
  4. Mummy

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    I remember playing Descent with Virge (De)celeration, it sure looked better than software, but the frame rate was very very poor.
     
  5. hkultala

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    yep.. my friend who was a descent fan bought virge vx because there was a descent2 version for virge.. but the framerate was just too low to be playable(and there was no option to use lower resolution!) so he ended up playing the software rendered version.

    at some 320x240 resolution the virge would propably been both faster and more beautiful ( due bilinear filtering isntead of point sampling ) than SW rendering, but as the game supported only some 640x480 or 512x384 resolution when HW accelerated, it was useless.

    propably the virge version of descent2 was a very straightforward conversion from the 3dfx version, without changing the resolution.. 640x480 was not a problem for 3dfx, but for virge it was too much.
     
  6. Simon82

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    What a wonderful days... S3 stragest card was the Trio3D.. I've never understood what changed in compatibility and features.. it seems to be a little more powerful of the Virge in a age when 3dfx dominated all this world.. what was the sense of this card?
     
  7. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    ViRGE runs Tomb Raider and Terminal Velocity quite nicely, actually. I thought the Virge version of Tomb Raider looked better than the Voodoo version. Not so overly smooth as Voodoo. I've messed with a Diamond Stealth 3D 2000 fairly recently (Virge 325).

    Continue to bring in revenue off a product, even if it was super old.
     
  8. Murakami

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    Well, 5-6 fps in GLQuake and 12-15 fps in Tomb Raider here with Virge acceleration (on a P3 933)... :sad:
     
  9. ben6

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    Hrm one of my main computers had a Virge GX on it till 2004. Playing games on it wasn't fun, but for everyday use it was ok (especially on the WONDERFUL 15" CRT I was using it on.
     
  10. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    Well, I never said it was fast. But it was playable on Tomb Raider and, especially, Terminal Velocity. Not to mention it's the only card that can accelerate/enhance Terminal Velocity.

    Apparently the GX2 version of VIRGE is a good bit faster. VIRGE VX is the slowest for 3D.
     
  11. Nappe1

    Nappe1 lp0 On Fire!
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    there's way to hack Tomb Raider setup file (IIRC, it was dat or cfg file... binary file in any case. you should be able to locate it quite easily from installation directory.) to enable setting up lower resolution in game menus than official S3 Virge Patch allowed (512x384, 640x480). But it's close to 10 years ago when I tweaked that so I don't recal exactly how I did it. In any case, after the mod, you could chose also 320x240, 400x300 and 15 bit color mode on both.

    with this mod, Diamond Stealth 3D 2000 2MB with S3 Virge game was really good and ran faster than SW renderer. (not to mentioning the texture filtering, mip mapping and other nice features.) Unfortunately, same trick was not applicable to other S3d accelerated games, which for some reason used 16 bit color space, while the 15 bit was marginally worse, but much much much faster.

    S3 Virge did also support some bizarre HW rendering modes for it's time, like true 32bit, 24bit and even 8 bit with hardware dithering. The first two modes were way too slow to be used and the 8bit even with hardware dithering looked quite awful. 15 bit was okayish as image quality, but was fast enough for most games.

    Last few week when I was using Virge, I even played Tomb Raider 2 with it and S3's driver team had made a giant leaps in DirectX performance, so it did ran quite nice in 15 bit modes, but 2MB video memory wasn't enough for the amount of textures game used. Even with the 320x240 there was some shaded polygons due missing textures. Also lack of alpha blending support (just color key transparency) was bad thing. I changed my Stealth to ATi 3D Charger 4MB (Rage II+ chip), which is still most dull graphics card I have ever owned. The hardware was pretty much what it should have been; Alpha Blending worked nice and it was slightly faster in 16 bit modes, but it didn't had 32/24 bit modes, nor it didn't get any speed benefit from dropping to 15 bit mode, which also looked almost as bad as the 8bit mode in Virge. Also, after coming from S3 where the drivers were updated all the time, I just could not undertand that ATi only released 3 versions of drivers during the life cycle of the card. (when the Rage Pro came out, they just simply dropped the support for Rage II+)

    back then I was running the game in Pentium 133MHz and 32MB EDO RAM.
     
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  12. Simon82

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    Cool feedback, thank you. My (original and past) experience with S3 cards was on the S3 Trio3D mounted on a Viewtop 3D Titan 4000 board. It was my first 3d acceleration card when most people was talking about 3D calling it as "3Dfx".. I remember.. :razz:

    In a new pc with K62 350Mhz with 64MB PC100 sdram just bought (850 euro/$) I run Half Life with the S3 card at 640x480 in Direct3D without any sort of texture mapping with all the shaded grey polygons.. I remember I saw only explosion effects when you click fire button. :smile:
    Trio3D..what a bad card with so so bad few drivers..

    Passing to a Voodoo3 2000 I get a real boost on gaming experience.. all games run fine with everything wonderful.
     
  13. no-X

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    As I remember, the slowest was Virge 325...

    Virge (325) - EDO RAM (typ. 2MB), bilinear, trilinear (but I'm not sure)
    Virge VX - VRAM (2-4MB, probably up-to 8MB), bilinear, trilinear (not free)
    Virge DX (375) - EDO / SD- / SG-RAM, bilinear, free trilinear (SmartFilter technology), 66/50MHz
    Virge GX - EDO / SD- / SG-RAM, bilinear, free trilinear (SmartFilter technology), 66/66MHz
    Virge GX2 - EDO / SD- / SG-RAM, bilinear, free trilinear (SmartFilter technology), 66/83(for synchronous mode and SGRAM / 66MHz EDO-RAM), DuoView technology, integr. TV-out, AGP
    Virge MX - mobile GX2 (one of the first 3D accelerators for NB)
    Trio3D - slower than GX, first 128bit core from S3, still 64bit memory interface, basic support for DVD playback (but w/o motion compensation), up-to 4MB of EDO (75MHz) or SGRAM (100MHz), support for block-writes. There is a 8MB version, but for 3D only 4MB are available.
     
  14. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    Virge VX is faster than 325 for 2D, but slower for 3D. At least, that's what all the mags said back then, and Google Groups I'm sure, if you wanna look it up on there.
     
  15. no-X

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  16. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    Fascinating. I can quote you probably 2 CGW reviews that say VX was slower for 3D. Maybe drivers saved the day? I believe the VX chip is clocked lower normally.

    Look at V1000E down at the bottom too. V1000 was not at its best in D3D. Something to do with early D3D not working with the chip's DMA mode and crippling performance. I played Indycar Racing 2 on one for kicks a couple of months ago. Pretty awesome looking honestly, and with AA to boot.
     
  17. Simon82

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    The Trident was an awful card... I've got one with 4Mb ram and there're so many games running.. :???:

    What a strange alternative on the past videocard age.
     
  18. Murakami

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    Of course it is, but it's no more compatible with S3D games (even VirgeDX does not play Tomb Raider).
     
  19. Murakami

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    Excellent information: Simon, let's try to find these hacked setup file! :eek:
     
  20. Simon82

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    Yeah but S3 patch doesn't work with Tomb demo.
     
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