Revenge is a dish best served old

In this day of strange inaugurations and general protests, there are many things to complain about. No least of them, is the fact that Nvidia lies to us. See, the latest Geforce 2 drivers available on the site is 71.84, which is essentially the last driver to support many of their older cards. Sounds good, right? Except those drivers don’t really work all that well. Several games had somewhat unwelcome issues or were slower than expected. Removing Vsync was a pain. Don’t even get me started on Final Reality suddenly glitching the whole framebuffer.

So I had to cycle through a few older drivers. I tried going back a year… nothing. Another year… nothing. In the end, I settled for the 12.84 driver, which came out long ago, in 2001. And what do you know, they work much better. No more issues, faster results, anisotropic is now supported, even 3DMark 99 shows improvements.

71.84:

TNT2 M64: 3953
Geforce 2 GTS: 3303

12.84:

TNT2 M64: 4349
Geforce 2 GTS: 4266

Nvidia strikes back! And let’s not even go into my Forsaken results. The GTS goes from a disappointing 132fps in 640×480 (which made it slower than the Voodoo 3), to a much more satisfying 200fps. And holds to 190fps in 1024×768, too.

Oh, and being unified drivers, they work with literally everything from the TNT onwards. Well… they should. The Geforce 2 MX, TNT2 and TNT2 M64 all work fine. But the old TNT didn’t want to be recognized. One more mystery with this card… I had to revert further to 6.47, and even then, it’s still a horrible model. Who knows what’s up with it.

20170120_134444
I’ve always wanted an Elsa card. It’s so going to become my new main.

Did I say TNT2 up there? That’s right, I got a TNT2 recently. While the world of online auctions is inundated with M64 models, plaguing our searches like locusts during a swarm, I was eventually able to procure a basic TNT2 for cheap. And it does its job well (of course using those 12.84 drivers). Similar results to the M64 in 640×480, but keeping up much better when you run into higher resolutions.

showdown1
What your money could buy in 1999. The 128 GL doesn’t really belong, but I’m afraid I don’t have its more powerful Pro cousin. And look at that trilinear filtering speed on the Nvidia card!

I had wanted to make the Radeon VE my main, as it runs Blood 2 better than most other cards. But its bad 16-bits dithering was very annoying. The TNT2 takes its spot instead, as its twin pixel pipeline seems to work better than the “triple TMU on a single pipeline” setup of the Ati card. I do question its ability to multitexture well, though. Despite enabling the option in Quake 2 via registry edit (for some reason the game doesn’t use multitexturing in 16-bits by default on the TNT series), my results didn’t improve at all. Mmh.

Well, still looking for other cards, I guess. But the number keeps getting smaller. I suppose a Sis 315 could be nice to check, but a mild distraction at best. I think a 6236 would be too slow to be really interesting. Geforce 256’s apparently are rarer than a Voodoo 4, and you can’t get close to PowerVR prices. Perhaps my collecting days are over… but I always keep an eye open on Ebay. You never know when someone will drop that cheap Fury MAXX you are looking for.

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