Wink to the Past

Some days ago, my motherboard died. Or so I thought. See, when your PC only turns on without beeping or showing anything on the screen, my first thought is “reset the CMOS”. If that doesn’t work, “try a different power supply”. Only if that doesn’t work either, I change the mobo. Unfortunately, in my haste, I skipped the second step.

So after changing the motherboard and noticing it still didn’t work, I tried the power supply. That made it! Except… the computer was now turning on with the different motherboard. Too late, I didn’t think about it. Windows 98 suddenly got messed up, and after a couple reboots where things seemed fine, it stopped seeing almost every peripheral in the computer. And that was the chance I needed to reset everything.

20170131_193729
Microsoft advertising OpenGL? It was more likely than you think.

For a change, I put Windows 95 again. Nothing against Windows 98, but I do remember it was slightly harder to run DOS games properly on it for some reason, even though both 95 OSR2 and 98 run the same version of MS-DOS.

I even put a Virge in the case during the installation process, to make sure everything would go as smoothly as possible. I don’t think there’s a more supported card than the Virge out there. And sure enough, the installation was smooth and flawless. I also found a really good USB driver, called XUSBUPP, which was a lot easier to install than Microsoft’s own driver. I remember that one would completely ruin your Windows installation if you messed up.

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After tweaking the Autoexec and Config files. These are the kind of sights I love.

Well, there’s just one problem. Ok, a few problems. First one is, the mouse wheel doesn’t work – perhaps I can look into fixing it. Another problem is just how rough the thing feels at times – you can’t choose which version of the driver to install from an INF file, it seems.

The other problem is 3D Mark 99. I thought it would just work the same, but it turns out it won’t recognize my Pentium 3 as a Pentium 3. Perhaps that required Windows 98… anyway, I’m stuck with basic Intel optimization, which means my CPU score went down from 7000 to 4500.

(that also shows us that there isn’t much difference at all between Pentium 2 and 3, aside from the higher clocks, if you aren’t employing some optimization. The P2-350mhz scored roughly 3500, which perfectly matches the 4500 scored by the P3-450mhz)

This would make further card testing partially useless, depending on the card employed. More powerful chips like the TNT2 and Voodoo 3 obtain a fairly lower score. Of course, it would not affect other game tests, since nothing else in my benchmark suite had those P3 optimizations.

Nor, it seems, does it affect less powerful cards in a meaningful manner. The Trident Blade 3D – which I momentarily elected as card of choice due to needing something that could install quickly and painlessly, much like the Virge but less crappy – had its score going down from 2850 to 2750. That sounds like the GPU is bottlenecking the CPU instead. The G250 also went down a measly 50 points, from 3050 to to 3000. And weaker cards should be even closer. I do have an interesting 1996 thing coming up, and also waiting to see if my bid on a SiS 6326 gets through. So those should be safe for testing.

The last problem? I forgot to back up my old 3DMark database results. Sigh.

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