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View Full Version : Bye-Bye SS7, Hello BX bliss (long)



moreau
22nd October 1999, 23:47
Well folks, I have finally punted my FIC 2013 1MB board and K6-2 333 for a full blown BX mobo. This ends 1 year of AGP gart and pci bridge patching, etc.

Let me tell you, I could not be happier.

Lets be fair, though. The AMD chip is not so bad. First it's cheap. Also it runs desktop apps like a champ. My G200 in this setup made Office apps a joy to look at. But don't play games on it. Forget Matrox's OGL issues for the time being. The fact is that the platform support that AMD got from the chipset makers and mobo manufacturers was haphazard. AGP on SS7 was a bloody mess from the get go, and has not really improved. That combined with the marginal FPU performance on the K6's, especially prior to the CTX core, and, well, it wasn't a gamer's paradise.

Let's contrast my Q2 experience on both machines I've built. First, the aforementioned K6-2 on FIC 2013 with the G200:
Install Q2
Install 3.20 patch
Install AMD 3D-NOW! Q2 3.20 patch
Try various combinations of
PowerDesk
AGP Gart Drivers
D3D wrapper, ICD beta 1,2 or full
reboot over, and over and over...

Today: bought the new chip and mobo listed in my signiture. Install win98se. Install PD. Then:
Install Q2
Install 3.20 patch
Drink a beer and shoot some stuff.

It's nice to be compatible. In fact, this is the first chance I have had in a year to actually enjoy my G200. I'm so happy, I slapped the extra 8MB SGRAM upgrade in it. That Tech demo I've been trying to run for a year, and never did, well today I installed an ran it in 5min!

Now, what didn't change is my FPS in Q2 (sorry CMAG). I belive that is a driver issue, and perhaps always will be. There just doesn't seem to be any headroom to be had in the ICD. But, what I do want is to do some serious benchmarking in a D3D game, which is where the Matrox stuff will shine. After all, OGL is only a subset (albeit an important one) of the 3D scene.

Anyway, I'm happy, and can recommend for compatibility sake that anyone who plays games might consider the change in archetecture for their next purchase. That is, unless MVP5 gets it together (if there ever is a 5).

PS. I'm running DX7 and it is rock solid stable.

------------------
G200 16MB SG
PD 5.25
Bios 2.6
Celeron 400(500 oc'd)
Asus P3B-F 1.01A
Bios 1.003
256MB PC100
SBLive Value
Microsoft Intellimouse USB (IntelliEye, baby)

motub
23rd October 1999, 03:59
Congrats, moreau, you give me hope.. I just got a MAX, but naturally I was NOT going to install it in the SS7 mobo in my specs below... Fortunately, I had bought a DFI BX board at closeout, planning to put a Celeron in it, I never wanted to join the Intel hegemony, but I'm <u>just that sick</u> of SS7 problems as well... but then my dear fiance gave me his old P-2, hurrah!

I'm a bit concerned that, as with most HW installation, I'll wind up going down for a couple of days... but it will be worth it to have everything work.. and maybe, with a board that actually works, I won't go down at all!!! That would be nice...

I agree that the SS7 platform is in what I call the "just too bad" category. All the tech pages hyped it as the savior of us value-conscious (read: broke) yet power-hungry users... and it almost was... but (despite what some people might say about Cyrix, games ran better with my PR200+ and a V2 until the 5.13 drivers came out for the G200... 9 months later... it just wasn't worth it... especially since the Celery A-series came out so soon after... it's just a shame, it could have been, should have been fabulous, if not for the mobo manufacturers not being ready, and not caring to support/work on the chipset over the BX...

This should tide me over till the new Athlon mobos come out, and come down in price...

Let's hear it for happiness!!!


------------------
Holly

What? System specs? Oh, yes, right...well, at the moment, it's: Soyo 5EMA, K6-2 333, 256MB PC100 SDRAM, Maxtor 7GB HDD, LS-120, Promise Ultra33 EIDE controller, Diamond Monster Sound MX300, HP 8100i CD-RW, Hi-Val (Nakamichi) 16X 5-disk CD changer, Win98 +SR1...oh yeah, and a Millennium G200 8MB SGRAM. But expect that SS7 thing to become a: DFI P2XBL rev. A1 and a P-2 266 o/c (!!!) to 400 or 450... and a G400 MAX!



[This message has been edited by motub (edited 23 October 1999).]

paul
23rd October 1999, 07:42
off the subject, Holly - what's a 'Motub'?

moreau
23rd October 1999, 07:48
Just to make you feel less hegemonious, look at it this way: Intels marketing my be misguided, but it is hard to argue with their technology. Now that AMD has forced them to address the low end properly (celeron below 100 bucks), you aren't really being bled the way you might have been a year ago. In a way, by buying a cheap intel product, you are reinforcing the message AMD was sending with the SS7 platform: Give us real tech for under a 100.

baby crying, gotta go...

------------------
G200 16MB SG
PD 5.25
Bios 2.6
Celeron 400(500 oc'd)
Asus P3B-F 1.01A
Bios 1.003
256MB PC100
SBLive Value
Microsoft Intellimouse USB (IntelliEye, baby)

Joel
23rd October 1999, 08:41
I have to disagree. I have own nothing but AMD over the last few years and for me they have been excelent workhorses and stable to boot. It's all in a matter of how they are setup. The last Intel I had was a P133. The only place I have seen that the Intel beats the AMD in Mhz to Mhz comparisons, as far as games goes, has been in the Q2 based OpenGL games, and that is only because the code for the Q2 engine is specifically optimized for the Intel FPU. 3DMark99Max is another to look at. Even though the Intel seems to beat it in the overall score, which of course is only based on the first two game runs, it will and does beat the Intel in almost everything else. But I do agree with you on one point. If it wasn't for AMD we would probally all still be running P200s and paying three times the price for them.

Joel http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif



------------------
System Specs (http://members.home.net/gilchrist.joel/current1.htm)

Gurm
23rd October 1999, 08:47
Joel,

It's not that the AMD's aren't FINE chips. They are. I have several in machines at work, running on SS7 motherboards, running Matlab on big ol' number sets with 512MB of RAM and HUGE hard drives under Windows NT.

But let's face it - their driver and chipset support has been sloppy. Haphazard. Lacking. Icky, even.

AMD even made their own chipset for a while, and they stopped supporting it. Why? I don't know, but I really LIKED my Shuttle HOT-603 with the AMD640 chipset. Until Win98 came out with NO driver support for it. D'oh!

Anyway, I'm done now. I hope the Athlon chipset gets better support. I really do.

- Gurm

------------------
G. U. R. M. It's not hard to spell, is it? Then don't screw it up!
The word "Gurm" is in no way Copyright 1999 Jorden van der Elst.

G.M.E.
23rd October 1999, 10:57
What a load of rubbish! SS7 works wonderfully. G400, 503+, K6-III 450...and no problems at all. Q2, Q3...all run great. Now, if you'd gotten a PIII and could use the TurboGL, then, maybe, you'd have something. Otherwise...a totally waste of time and money!

paul
23rd October 1999, 12:51
I'm all ears. Is the FIC going to change my life? I could stick the old k62-350 in the tyan and upgrade the wife's p233mmx

------------------
k6-3 450 - tyan 1590s bios 1.16 - wdac310100 - g200 mill sgram w/8mb upgrade & bios 2.6-20 PD 4.51 (all software disabled) - AGP1x - 128MB 10ns sdram - sblive value 2.1 - 3com 3c905b-tx - cable access (28.8k for emergencies) - win98 service pack 1 + 2
dx7

Himself
23rd October 1999, 21:31
Hi,

I haven't owned an Intel cpu since the 486 days, and I haven't noticed any problems with AMD cpus. Only problem with SS7 is that there are no real motherboard chipsets, just VIA and ALI lowball crap. There is nothing preventing much better performance on SS7 but the lack of competition and motivation from the chipset makers. What is better about Slot 1 is that it's dominated by Intel chipsets, it's not much a cpu issue as a motherboard issue. MVP4 is a joke, compare that to the dozen or so Intel chipsets since the MVP3 was first introduced. All the 3D-Now! in the world will give you better memory performance.

In short, it's the motherboard, stupid. http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif

Dude
24th October 1999, 08:10
The AMD CPU & FIC motherboards are NOT very user friendly from my experience. Maybe it is just the motherboard, but from my experience with them, they bite. In order to get the dang thing stable you have to have the right combo of drivers. It's like a crap shoot,,, re-boot and ... is it gonna work this time??? CRASH.. oh no, try again.

I did the exact same thing Moreau did about 6 months ago and never regreted it. I still have the FIC system and it is solid as a rock right now, but it took me a day to figure out what drivers where needed.

The BX chipsets are plug & play, and the Via chipsets are plug and trouble shoot.


Good call Moreau, your next step needs to be a G400!!
http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif

waltz
24th October 1999, 16:12
Moreau:

I too had a Fic Pa2013 with an AMD K6-2 400 and traded it in for a BX board. Had innumerable problems with the Pa2013, especially with those 3 setting that must be disabled in the Bios to get the G-200 to work. On top of that, the g-200 drivers I was using back then were mega-buggy (4.51)

This is not to say that AMD is not a good company. I'm sure their K7 Athlon will do very well against the PIII, but for now, i'm happily humming along on my GA-2000 w/ Celery 400 oced to 450 plus - can't get 500 without increasing voltage which my mobo doesn't permit.

Someday, (2 or so years from now) I might even consider the PowerMAC, - since my first real machine was a Mac Classic. By then, I'll probably be able to run a Matrox G-2002 Eliminator pushing 20 Gigapixels/second on a AGP 12X implementation - but who knows...

Waltz
P.S. Am I the only one still using the G-200 on this board still???

Wombat
24th October 1999, 17:55
Still using my G200.
Also, you can play with the voltages on your CPU - just have to read up on pin-taping.

-Wombat

moreau
24th October 1999, 18:16
Hope I didn't strike any nerves.

I just want to say, I too like the K6-X. And I didn't want to throw any stones at AMD. Far from it, actually. (Actually, I reread the topic, and it does sound a little slanted, sorry).

I too, did have my system running rock solid stable. Nine months, actually. But that was because I didn't install any new games or in that period. The problem was, everytime I installed something new, I had to play the shell game with chipset drivers, that's all.

For the record: I like to run wintune on-line from the winmag site. It serves two purposes. One is to see how my system performs, the other is to stress all the subsystems to check for incompatibilities. It is a good first check for video driver problems. With my AMD 350 my FPU scores were about forty to fifty percent of that for their reference P-II 400. For the price I paid at that time (over a year ago), that didn't bother me. The P-II's were outrageously more. What doesn't sit well was the platform incompatibilities. That's all.

And, let's not bash intel just because they are intel. The BX chipset has got to be one of the all-time successes in chipset history.
There are very few things that a clever mobo company can't make it do with today's (intel) processors. The notable exception is the AGP divider.

Anyways, I wasn't AMD flaming. And those of you still using, especially if you are primarily 2-D app-oriented, don't fix what isn't broken. But for me, bring on Q3, unreal tournament, etc...

------------------
G200 16MB SG
PD 5.25
Bios 2.6
Celeron 400(500 oc'd)
Asus P3B-F 1.01A
Bios 1.003
256MB PC100
SBLive Value
Microsoft Intellimouse USB (IntelliEye, baby)

Joel
24th October 1999, 19:12
I tend to use my machine for many different things and one of those is playing 3D games. I also continually install and uninstall many demos for testing and I have not seen the problems that you speak of. Also being one of the beta boyz I test numerous versions of drivers for Matrox and other than occasional graphical glitches my system has been rock solid. It may not be the fastest in the world when it comes to Q2 based OpenGL games but it is far from being unplayable or unstable. I am really sorry that you had such a bad experience with your AMD setup but you are making it sound like that the only way for someone to get good performance and stablity in 3D games is to go to Intel, and IMO and based on my experience that is just not entirely true. The only real thing I have against Intel is their monopolistic attitudes and practices.

Joel http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif

Long Live AMD!! We need the competition to keep Intel honest.

moreau
25th October 1999, 07:13
I'm sorry if I sound one-sided.

Actually, in addition to raving about my new board, I was trying to point out the strengths of the AMD and SS7 platform. The real glaring weakness of my mobo was the poor AGP implementation. But, let me soften that with two statements:
My mobo was an earlier PCB (1.1)
My chipset may also be an earlier revision (though I never looked into the revisions to the MVP3 chipset).

I don't want to poo-poo SS7. After all, when I built that system fall 98, I put it together, installed the os, loaded all the drivers, and put Tomb Raider II on it. Everything ran out-of-the-box.

Unreal was slightly worse, but that doesn't count, since that was beta code (is it still?).

But when I departed from DX, things got bad (for me). That's all.
Thanks, Joel, for keeping me honest. And, I want to reiterate: I like AMD, just not the mobo support.

Later,


P.S. My old rig really got no boost from anything that claimed to support 3D-now, though others have posted that 3dfx stuff did well.