S3 ViRGE/VX boards (was Re: Virge dotclocks - DS3D 2000 or 3000?)

S3 ViRGE/VX boards (was Re: Virge dotclocks - DS3D 2000 or 3000?)

Post by Rod Smi » Thu, 02 Jan 1997 04:00:00

>>This suggests there are several such boards, but the only ones I'm aware
>>of are the Diamond 3D 3000, the STB Velocity 3D, and the ELSA Winner
>>2000AVI/3D -- and the ELSA, I've heard, hasn't even been released yet
>>(due out in January, I'm told).  So what other options are there in
>>ViRGE/VX boards?  Also, I've noticed that the STB costs ~$60-$70 less
>>than the Diamond in a 4MB configuration, but the specs are identical, as
>>near as I can tell.  Why the price difference?

>I don't know.  And since my interest in the ViRGE/VX has been helping others
>set up their systems rather than buying one myself, I haven't gone into the
>price/performance tradeoffs.

>If you need hard info about supported boards, talk to the S3V development
>team for XFree86 - they can be reached through email address I posted,
>their homepage at http://www.xfree86.org/, or (sometimes) through this

I have been in touch with them.  They said they've had no reports of
problems with the STB board, though they also didn't explicitly say they'd
heard it works.

I do have another couple of questions for the group on this, though:  In
order to get SOME idea of whether this all will work, I pulled the Number
Nine 332 (S3 ViRGE, but not ViRGE/VX) board from my office computer and
temporarily installed it in my home system.  I ran xbench on it, and
found that it got 163,363 xstones at 1024x768x(8 bpp) or 92,908 xstones
at 1024x768x(16 bpp), which is rather pathetic for a boad like this --
the ET4000/W32p card I've got now gets 150,707 xstones at 1024x768x(8
bpp) with XFree86 (124,389 with Metro-X).  (This is with version 3.2 of
XFree86 for both ET4000/W32p and ViRGE.)  Now, I understand that the
current ViRGE drivers are incomplete (xbench results are particularly bad
in the arc and text categories, but 1.5-3x better than the ET4000/W32p
results in other categories), so I've two questions:

1) How much better is the ViRGE/VX than the non-VX ViRGE?
2) How much are the XFree86 ViRGE drivers likely to improve?  The
   documentation says further acceleration is on the "to-do" list,
   but roughly where can we expect to see overall performance
   settle -- at 1.1x current levels, 2x, or what?

| Rod Smith                                 Author of:               |

| http://ezinfo.ucs.indiana.edu/~rodsmith   "OS/2 Soundcard Summary" |


1. Virge dotclocks - DS3D 2000 or 3000?

Hello, all.
I am considering purchasing a Diamond Stealth 3D, mainly for its 2D
performance, and chiefly for use with Linux/X, though I play some DOS games
every now and then.

I understand that the EDO DRAM in 2000-series is faster for lower
resolutions and games, it being of the 40ns variety, rather fast really. On
the other hand, the 3000-series with Virge/VX has a lighting fast RAMDAC,
220MHz, while the 2000-series with Virge have 135Mhz.

Anyway, I am not quite certain of what the final frequencies would be - I
don't know how the number of bpp affects the maximum dotclock. At Diamond's
homepage, the specs claim that the 2000-series can do 1024x768x24 at 85Hz,
which would mean almost 70 million pixels (of three bytes each) per second.
Does the RAMDAC frequency refer to pixels or bytes? The number of bpp has an
effect on maximum dotclocks, anyway.

So I would appreciate if someone knowledgeable about these things could tell
the maximum dotclocks for different bpps both for Virge and Virge/VX. I am
especially interested in 24 bpp, though I know that it is not yet supported
in XFree86. Since the 3000-series is somewhat more expensive, I'd like to
know if it is worth the money, especially considering usage with X. (And of
course the claimed degradation of lower-resolution performance).

On the other hand, I am not quite sure of the availability of the 2MB EDO
DRAM extension for the 2240 hereabouts, while the 3400 seems to be readily
available... I am not going to settle for 2MB of video memory.

Thanks for any answers.

Lauri Alanko

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