Not For The Graphically Impaired!
read this if you are trying to play Quake on an S3 Virge 2meg
card, or you are still using the one that came with your Packard
Bell. Run, dont walk to your local computer store and buy
a 3D card (soon all games will require one)! We arent going
to bore you with pixel counts and all kinds of techno-babble about
how the card renders its performance
tell you how to tweak your current card with your system for better
We are not
going to recommend cards, but if you dont have a 3D accelerator
and are reading this, here are some things to consider:
PCI and AGP cards. AGP cards are able to manage video memory better
than PCI, you can usually add more video RAM, and it frees up
PCI slots for all those other cards you want to buy. Although
they may not be necessarily faster, they are usually better quality
because of the memory. You can get more information on AGP and
PCI performance at Tom's
Voodoo 2 card requires a second card and an available PCI slot.
The Voodoo 2 is a 3D acceleration only card which requires
a separate 2D card for non-3D applications (such as Windows and
DOS). The TnT, Voodoo 3, G200, and I740 cards are all 2D
and 3D (there are others, but we're just going to cover the most
popular). Then there's the 32 bit vs 16 bit color debate.
Although 32 bit rendering is more detailed and colorful, 16 bit
runs much faster; its all a personal choice. We will not
discuss the battle of "should I buy a TnT / TnT 2 or Voodoo
2 / 3?" You've got two options, email Lowtax
and have him and Cozmo
duke it out in the point/counterpoint,
or go look at both cards and make your own choice. However, if
you're using a P133 with 32 megs of ram
. good luck! Video
accelerator cards are only as good as the power behind them; the
more CPU and ram on your system, the better performance. It wont
help to buy a 32 meg card (it wouldn't even run on such a low-end
system) - ya gotta have something powering it. That out of the
way (in the most basic of terms) let's look at chipset. We are
going to talk only about Voodoo 2/3 and TnT / TnT 2 chipsets,
as they're the most popular cards at the moment. They are the
fastest and best quality of chipset out there for gaming.
COOLING! Make sure you have plenty of fresh air circulating into
your computer. Graphics acceleration is a hot business; lots of
fans, lots of circulation means less chance of locking up or frying
your card (Cozmo has 7 fans in one PC - "You might be a redneck
if you have more fans than the average chicken house"). PCI
cards claim to be Plug N' Play, but they haven't gotten the nickname
"Plug N' Pray" for no reason. There isnt a whole
lot to do in hardware setup... except of course for making sure
you have no IRQ conflicts and hoping Windows detects the card
(but when has Windows ever let us down?). For AGP cards, follow
the setup from your manufacturer for correct BIOS settings. As
a rule, the following applies for TnT and Voodoo 3 cards, although
the Voodoo 3 does not use "true" AGP.
The first thing you need to do is set your BIOS to check the AGP
slot (often the BIOS has a setting for "1st slot
xxxx" - the xs being choices for PCI, AGP or AUTO).
Then the following settings should be applied:
IRQ to VGA - AUTO
Video BIOS Shadow - Disabled
VGA Palette snoop - Disabled
PCI Palette snoop - Disabled
Shadowing Address Ranges C8xxxx-CBxxxx (All hexdecimal values)
DO NOT Disable IRQ for VGA! It needs an IRQ!
Video BIOS cacheable (this setting is better performance
tips when modifying your BIOS settings. 1) Change only one thing
at a time. This may appear tedious and time consuming, but if
you change four things, reboot, and the PC ends up running like
Lowtax in high heels, you won't know which one caused it. 2) Always
check and recheck all your settings, save and exit. You may need
to use the trial and error system. In other words, if one setting
doesnt work and you have lock-ups, try another. If you are
using a regular TnT card and running your cpu at 100 MHhz, do
not increase your bus speed on your AGP. It can fry your card.
That is what's called "a bad thing".