My little SiS (6326) can’t be this fast…er

Remember when I tried the SiS 6326 C3 and it sucked? Well, I ultimately decided to test the C5 revision as well. I actually found one still in its box. The stuff people keep around these days… it has its drivers disc (only includes version 1.23, so pretty useless today) and even a small user manual.

Never even heard of this brand. But the side of the box implies that they might have made an Intel i752. Now that would be a rare find.

So let’s look at the facts. The C3 revision had its fair share of issues, chiefly some horrible perspective correction and warping polygons. After completing my tests, I can say that these are mostly gone here. I say mostly, because it’s still not as good as some other cards… but considering the price, it’s not that bad.

One quick look at the manual would show the line “Supports 4MB SGRAM memory configurations”. Suspicious. My model is supposed to have 8MB. And it is. Except that, as it turns out, no game will run at anything above 800×600, choking on Out Of Memory errors. Digging around the net, I discovered that some people believe the SiS 6326 can’t actually access more than 4MB. That seems to be true. It would mean everything else after that amount can’t be used as framebuffer and becomes texture memory. My tests, again, seem to corroborate this theory. Having an 8MB card is useful though, because unlike my 4MB card, it doesn’t drop any textures. And let’s face it, the 6326 is slow as a snail so you wouldn’t really wanna run on 1024×768, even in the simplest games.

I was also able to find a specific “High Angle” driver (yes, that’s the version, it doesn’t have a number) that manages to support OpenGL in Quake 2 (about as badly as you’d expect) and somehow allows 3DMark 99 to run on its default settings. Speed is just as bad as always, perhaps slightly faster than before, but not in any appreciable manner. It’s really all about the improved image quality. Still, OpenGL manages to make it even worse.

The Quake 2 demo1.dm2 hall of shame (i440BX2, P3-450mhz, 128MB PC100). I guess the Riva and i740 don’t really belong in there, but that performance drop on 1024×768 is quite ugly.

Strangely, the card seems to use the same refresh and resolution timings as the newer SiS 305, rather than those used by the previous 6326 model. Maybe some things were changed in between.

With its outstanding issues fixed, the 6326 is a little bit faster than a Rage IIc and even a bit more reliable. For 1998 however, one year after the original (buggy) 6326 was released, it was just too slow, no matter how small your budget may have been. It sure sold a lot though. I wonder how many people bought one, just to discover that it was the true successor of the graphics decelerator? Good times indeed.

3 thoughts on “My little SiS (6326) can’t be this fast…er”

  1. So many memories :).
    I had this card, found the high angle driver back in the day. Actually I had a very peculiar 6326 because she was a monster of overclocking. Using powerstrip (if I remember correctly bellow v 3.0) I could overclock it to insane 229Mhz, but there were two caches: 1 – it had to be done editing the .ini file mnually and 2 – it seemed that the real clock was somewhere around 90Mhz and powersrip was showing it wrong (not less impressive) and I had to use a 486 heatsink to cool it.
    You could actually overclock it over the already bizarre 229Mhz, however image glitches started to pop up everywhere, with no performance improvement.
    That way quake II was playable in low resolutions like 400×300, ~20FPS, using a PIII 600 and 128MB ram.
    Nice blog btw!

    Like

    1. With a P3-600, you might have been better off in software mode! Although I understand the appeal of colored lighting, eheh. But all in all, for the same price, I’m pretty sure there were better cards around, at least by 1998.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not where I live (Brazil), we used to have a very not ordinary computer parts market before gpus became geforces and radeons mostly. The 6326 was dirty cheap lol when new.
        But yeah, I had to use software rendering at least to play online :). And was always thinking something like “oh man, why isn’t this soft, rendering as good as unreal’s?”

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