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Slow framerates: TNT2 M64 - Seems to be in PCI mode

Discussion in 'Nvidia' started by noise, Jul 12, 2003.

  1. noise

    noise Guest

    Hi, system is:

    Epox 8RDA+
    Athlon 2600+
    NForce2 ST chipset
    AGP 8x, 512MB PC3200 @ 400Mhz
    Galaxy TNT2 M64 32MB AGP, Detonator 44.03
    WinXP home SP1

    Got a problem with TNT2 card, here's the full info (sorry if it's
    a little long, but you'll see I've tried all the stuff I should try):

    On this, and previous rig (K6-3, Epox SS7 w/ Via Apollo Pro c/set),
    this card is getting poor frame-rates in higher resolutions in all
    my 3d games. This happened on both systems, XP and Win98SE on this
    one, w98SE on the last. Card came with 43.something drivers, have
    downloaded 44.03. Always kept up to date with mboard drivers inc. AGP.
    According to diagnostics on both, AGP mode was selected... I'm
    using a util. called RivaTuner to check stuff, and it says I'm
    at 4x AGP (last system was 2x, all the diagnostics said so too).

    Symptoms:
    Any quake 2 or 3 based game dramatically loses framerate with
    increasing resolution - eg. Quake 3 figures (fast & ugly mode):
    320x400: ~ 280 fps
    512x384: ~ 128
    640x480: ~ 94
    1024x768: < 40 fps

    Same goes for Q2 - under 40 at 1024x768, and that's with as much
    as I can find turned to low settings. Everything's 16-bit, low
    detail, low textures, gibs/blood off, you name it - it's off. Still
    the low rates at 1024x768

    My old system with a Voodoo3 on a K6-3 450 got 75 FPS in Q2 at
    1024 x 768.

    The only hint so far was in an options screen, how many MB did I want
    for textures in PCI compatability mode? So RivaTuner tells me I'm
    in AGP at 4x, and I've gone into BIOS, set AGP buss to 66mhz, init.
    AGP display first, toggled EVERY AGP related setting (fast write etc),
    and still won't go any faster (yes, toggled back afterwards).
    So I suspect I'm in PCI mode. Further evidence - with RivaTuner, I
    can turn off AGP mode easilly, and it then says this is PCI compata-
    bility mode. Reboot, try Quake, and still exact same framerates.
    Turn back to AGP, no change either. Not even a little bit. This
    has got to mean I'm only getting PCI transfer rates, yes?

    Salesman at shop has no clue, neither does anyone in Quake groups.
    I'm REALLY stuck now, what is going wrong? I'm convinced this card
    should not be SLOWER than my V3 on a K6, in this Athlon 2600+ PC!

    All I can think of now is that this card has an actual fault.
    There's no info about PCI mode on the Galaxy website (tried their
    own drivers but they're just links to NVidia) at all. Can't see
    anything at NV either.
    I can't seem to find out if this card can have its BIOS flashed -
    where's a site I can look for a flash utility? It's the only thing
    left I can think of to try, exchanging the card will be difficult
    (lost receipt). It's been this way since I got it months ago.

    Can anyone shed any light on this? I'm right out of ideas.
    Many thanks. Card has to last me a couple more months till I can
    afford something better... want it to work right.
     
    noise, Jul 12, 2003
    #1
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  2. noise

    Dave Guest

    That video card is a serious bottleneck. The problem is the card itself. It
    simply will not provide ANY respectable performance in over 800x600x16. It's
    extremely memory throughput limited (64-bit pipeline instead of 128), making
    it effectively as slow as a TNT1. 32-bit is a wash. Won't ever happen,
    unless you like slideshows. Do yourself a favor:

    1) Uninstall drivers and remove card
    2) Replace with one of the following:
    GF3, GF4, Radeon 8500 or equivalent, softmoddable 9500 non-Pro
    (here is what I recommend, works very well for me anyway:
    http://secure.newegg.com/app/CustratingReview.asp?item=14-102-271 Don't know
    who has any of these Down Under right offhand, tho...)
    3) Hang old card on a string and use it as a piƱata.

    snip
     
    Dave, Jul 12, 2003
    #2
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  3. noise

    noise Guest

    OK you guys all seem to point at this being all the card can
    do. I was pretty sure it was a card bottleneck, but the fact I
    turn off AGP and there's NO slowdown for actual PCI mode made
    me think I wasn't engaging AGP somehow.
    I expected to be doing better than only just over half what
    my old Voodoo3 (only a V3 3k) could do, with this better PC.

    OK So no-one thinks this is a failure to get any kind of AGP
    transfer rates? I'm not in PCI mode here? No resolution was even
    a little bit slower when I switched off AGP, for any game.

    Thing is, Quake 2 and Quake 3 *both* top out at 40 max at
    1024*768.... that's why I thought it had to be bus transfer
    rate. Even at 640x480, both games are really disappointing,
    still behind that steam-driven old system... I'm just blown
    away that this card is THAT crap.
    (BTW CPU and system are overclocking a treat, great value - 20%
    up for CPU and 400Mhz FSB, not even Barton core, with just one
    voltage inc. and not a single hiccup in 2 weeks now. I'm happy)

    I actually *liked* my V3, it still had the best 2d quality
    in windows I've seen until Radeon. It also scaled up with CPU
    grunt pretty good. Damn thing just died one day.

    --
    To reply remove spamblock and replace with iinet
    Thanks for this, never actually knew that about the V3. It's just
    hard to swallow that a PC with 5x the clock speed gets a *worse* frame
    rate even in Quake 2 (two) from 640*480 up.
     
    noise, Jul 12, 2003
    #3
  4. noise

    KCA Guest

    Even the GF2 MX cards are a killer for a good system - the TNT 2 is 2 gens
    back from that. As to topping out when running at 1024x768 that is a direct
    result of the 64 bit bus, and yes, the card is THAT crappy...:)

    My old voodoo 4 is still running in my father in law's machine, and my
    voodoo 3 is running in the person's machine I sold it to - still a good card
    for UT and Q3 generation games as long as you don't want to run winXP...



    Kris
     
    KCA, Jul 13, 2003
    #4
  5. noise

    Dave Guest

    When you turn off AGP DiME texturing, the AGP bus still acts as a fast DMA
    command queue among other things. Besides, local memory (on-card) texture
    management is still how it's usually done. You're more or less turning off
    an unused feature. This is part of the reason AGP 8x is just feature creep
    and sales hype. The reason PCI video cards are slower than their AGP
    counterparts (even when they're in PCI mode) has more to do *usually* with
    the more stringent inflight instruction timings and the contention for
    arbiter timeslice with other peripherals linked to the PCI bus...especially
    if one has a nice, fat bus-hogger like a SBLive card in the picture. Now
    that we are no longer limited to a theoretical maximum of 133 MB/s, and we
    have Vlink, MUTIOL, HyperTransport etc. in the picture, *one would think*
    this would change. But the PCI spec timing scheme remains the same (every
    peripheral chained to the PCI bus can have its theoretical max 133 MB/s
    "say" per allotted timeslice), whereas on the AGP bus, the card can burst
    for as long as maximum latency usually allows. Nonetheless, even the PCI bus
    on that Epox mobo isn't in much danger of being saturated by that card...
    The V3 has a fatter memory pipeline, as someone else has already pointed
    out. Its 16-bit performance is easily on par with the TNT2 with 128-bit
    memory bus width (and better image quality too). Its 32-bit performance of
    course was a no-show...
    Uh-uh. Nope.
    Nothin' from nothin' leaves ???
    Could also be the video card hitting its ceiling...there comes a point where
    the CPU can supply it with as much data as it wants, but the card, she is
    maxed out and there ain't nomore...you know things are REALLY bad when the
    *software* Q2 engine is faster...;-)

    Even at 640x480, both games are really disappointing,
    Brother, I feel your pain...a newer card is definitely the cure...
    Your system r0x0rs!
    snip
     
    Dave, Jul 13, 2003
    #5
  6. noise

    noise Guest

    Hi Inglo, I remember you from AGQ3, long time no see! Hope you're well.
    Nice to see you again.

    This board doesn't have SATA, that much is definite, there are just
    two U.ATA 100/133 ports. That doesn't mean that the chipset doesn't
    support the feature of course, but there is a list of chipset features
    in the mboard manual and no mention of SATA (but I'm still wondering
    if this late revision board has a newer chipset than the manual talks
    about).
    It does have the MCP-T and therefore Firewire and also 10/100 Ethernet.
    I've read that there's support for dual ethernet connectors, although
    just one is implemented on this board. From what I gather all these
    peripherals by-pass the PCI buss altogether and receive data from the
    CPU via the N-bridge to S-bridge high-speed buss, which might be either
    LDT or something of NVidia's, but it's something many times faster than
    the PCI buss. This is another big plus for the chipset.

    I have a single 256Mb CL2.5 Samsung PC3200 DIMM, saving up for a pair of
    high performance 512's capable of CL2 at 400Mhz, I think it'll be
    Kingmax 466. (What I've got now is a temporary measure as the stuff I
    want is never in stock around this city unless you order it... plus
    it's going to cost about as much as the initial CPU/mobo/RAM upgrade
    itself did. Next, a 420 or higher watt PSU and then gfx card. I'm
    really enjoying this system so far. I'm running 3d Studio Max 4.2 as
    of a week ago and when I get my new card, this is going to rock, esp.
    considering how cheap it is compared to real workstations. It'll do
    the job just fine, I'm sure, and is great anyway so far [WinXP Home])

    The Samsung stuff is disappointing - sure I get CL 2.5 but only with
    all the other timings at default (8,3,3,2.5). At 333 I can improve
    that first figure to 7, but cranking any of the others hands the PC.

    Sorry, rambling again... anyway, yes my FSB and RAM are synchronous
    at 400, which I read was very important for performance. Not knowing
    that, I wanted a mobo that could specifically let me clock my RAM and
    FSB asynchronously, on the theory I'd just have both running as fast
    as possible, but later found out about the need for synchronisation.
    So then I sniffed around the BIOS some more and found I could easilly
    set 200 FSB (for 400 at the CPU) and it all works just fine... didn't
    have to inc. voltages to do that and the system temp. rose just one
    degree. Nearly 3 weeks now and there hasn't been the slightest hitch
    since I did that. I'm really impressed with the capabilities of my new
    board and the CPU too, it's excellent bang for the buck - I think I
    may have mentioned that already :)

    I'll also do some video editing, primarilly from an Avid-based video
    system at work and with animations made with Max. Firewire will be
    very nice for this - they have a Firewire ext. HDD (80GB) intended
    for exhanging video data between their machines and I'll be able to
    just take it home and work with it. I'm already networking over 1394
    with my dad's PC on the weekends when I see him, plus work has a pro-
    level dig. video cam with 1394. You also get USB 2 (6 ports!) with
    this board, and with ethernet and that great in-built sound system,
    this is going to be great for a lot of different media tasks... I'm
    also a sound engineer by profession and have friends with portable
    1394-based HDD recording equipment. I'm going to be getting some work
    mixing down live multitrack recordings from the gigs I do and maybe
    some freelance recording work on the side. Once again, this board
    will take it in its stride. I think I'll get a SATA RAID controller
    and a pair of those Western Digital Raptor 10K RPM drives... they
    have got to be the best ATA drives on the planet right now, and even
    manage lower CPU utilisation than many top SCSI systems (<10%).

    It really blows me away how today's value systems can easilly cope
    with semi-professional media work out of the box, of a sufficient
    standard for presentation and broadcast. Such a board with fast 2-ch.
    RAM would also be a good foundation for a more pro. system using
    the more high-end video and audio equipment. That, and it's a great
    time to be into 3d graphics as well, with cards like the top NV FX's
    and Radeons of today. Exciting stuff.
     
    noise, Jul 15, 2003
    #6
  7. noise

    Inglo Guest

    noise cam up with this on 7/15/2003 11:12 AM:
    The nForce2 boards are incredibly picky about memory, it took me three
    tries with different brands to get it to boot at 166 FSB . I ended up
    getting Corsair XMS PC2700, and right now my system is running stable at
    12x175=2100MHz (up from 11x166=1833). But I think the stringent memory
    is worse with what I've got, an MSI board. So be happy its working.
    The memory ended up being the most expensive thing on this recent
    upgrade, the mobo and AthlonXP 2500 were each about $90 but the paired
    memory cost about $120. Next stop is a Radeon 9x00.
    What sucks for me right now is I can't get dual channel to work, the
    second channel slot on the board appears fried, so I can try a long
    drawn out RMA or just live with it at single channel.
    Which is not that bad because all the benchmarks I've run are almost
    identical or better than reference memory (well they should be better
    since its running at DDR350). And from everything I've read, dual
    channel on the nF2 boards provides negligible performance increases
    unless you're using the onboard IGP, where the GPU can take advantage of
    the 128 bit bus.
     
    Inglo, Jul 15, 2003
    #7
  8. noise

    noise Guest

    Hmm, I have no idea about the dual channel problem. I don't suppose
    there's a 3rd DIMM slot that gets around it? I suppose you've tried
    that anyway. Or try investigating whether the DIMMs themselves are
    at fault? This is over my head, but good luck. As you say, the dual
    channel bit is of limited use, but I expect it depends what you're
    doing with it - surely it's got to help anything that benefits from
    RAM bandwidth? I don't know exactly what - databases, 3D Studio,
    video editing and the like maybe.

    This one's an Epox 8RDA+, love it to bits. I'm exceedingly happy about
    the 200 FSB, that was an unexpected bonus. I have a feeling that this
    memory just barely runs at its ratings, and was poor value - there's
    friends of mine with PC3200 of half the price who get 7/3/3/2.5 at
    400, I only manage 8/3/3/3 at 400 and anything better won't POST.
    I can get the 8 to a 7 and the 3 to 2.5 at 333, but that sacrifices
    the gains I made in FSB - I haven't done any Sandra testing yet but
    when I do, I'll let that make my decision as to FSB. In any case,
    there's better RAM on the way and I can't wait.

    Memory was the one point of difficulty I had at all in setting up
    this system - I could overclock stuff a long way and it wouldn't
    flinch, but the RAM would only play at its most conservative settings.
    Given the smooth start at 400, I have no doubt there's a little more
    room to move yet, although I'm quite happy with things as they are.
    I'll play around a bit more when I've got the PC3500.

    Choosing a video card will be tough. THere's the outright speed of
    the FX5900, vs. the great features of the Radeon 9x00's. I do a little
    programming for OpenGL (and may even lower myself to DX) and it would
    be nice to play with all those bells and whistles. ATI are supporting
    OpenGL 2.0 today, whereas NVidia don't seem to be approaching that point
    yet. I'm interested in GL 2.0 for the scene graph and improved imaging
    features, or at least the little I know of them, so it would be nice.
    If I see an announcement soon that NVidia's going to GL 2.0 then I'll
    probably go with an FX5900. In fact I may even look at Quadro's, but
    I have zero knowledge of them now. Suddenly I'm looking at doing
    some real work with 3d Studio, a dream job for me, and it wouldn't
    hurt to be using the kind of gear that the manufacturer intends for it.
    Luckilly for me, I can't afford any of it yet so I'll have to find
    out what I'm doing a little better first 8)

    Cheers,
    noisey
     
    noise, Jul 18, 2003
    #8
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