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Since you do have a voodoo card, use lewpys glide pluggin..
Here is my settings for FF9 using lewpys glide pluggin..

Lewpy's Glide³ Plugin Configuration Information v1.35
-----------------------------------------------------

Computer Information
OS : Microsoft Windows 98 SE (v4.10 Build 2222)
DirectX : DirectX 8.1 installed
Processor : AMD AMD Athlon(tm) processor, 1040Mhz (1 off) (00/0642)
64kb L1-I, 64kb L1-D, 256kb L2 (on-chip)
Memory : 765Mb

Core Emulator
ePSXe : D:\EPSXE\EPSXECUTORTOOL.DLL
: 02/06/2001 22:18, 98304 bytes

*------*----------------------*---------*------------------*
| Type | Name | Version | Date |
*------*----------------------*---------*------------------*
| BIOS | SCPH1001.BIN | | 11/07/1997 05:38 |
| CDR | W9XCDRCORE | 0.0 | Plugin Not Found |
| GPU | gpuLewGlide.dll | 1.35 | 01/08/2001 20:05 |
| SPU | spuIori.dll | 1.4 | 01/09/2001 22:58 | <-----------
*------*----------------------*---------*------------------*

*-----------------------------*---------------------*
| ePSXe Configuration Item | Current Setting |
*-----------------------------*---------------------*
| Sound Enabled | Yes |
| CDDA Enabled | Yes |
| XA Enabled | Yes |
| XA Read Enabled | Yes |
| SPU IRQ Hack | No |
| CDROM Drive Letter | F |
| CDROM Accurate Timing | No |
| Disable CDROM Status | No |
| Disable CDROM RT Status | No |
| MDEC Enabled | Yes |
| MDEC Timing Enabled | Yes |
| SIO IRQ Always Enabled | Yes |
| Country | AutoDetect |
*-----------------------------*---------------------*

Glide³
Board : Voodoo5 (tm)
Version : 3.10.00.0674
File : C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\glide3x.dll
: 16/01/2001 12:38, 348160 bytes

*-----------------------------*---------------------*
| Plugin Configuration Item | Current Setting |
*-----------------------------*---------------------*
| Active Configuration | 4 |
| Active 3dfx Card | 1 |
| Enable HotKeys | No |
| Resolution | 640x480 |
| Refresh Rate | 60Hz |
| Emulate MASK Bit | Yes |
| Dynamic Texture Caching | Yes |
| Custom FrameCap | 60Hz |
| On-Screen Display | Off |
| Frame Skip | Disabled |
| FrameRate Limit | Auto |
| System Type | NTSC |
| FrameCap Method | New |
| Draw Method | Bright |
| Alpha Blending Mode | Advanced |
| Bilinear Filtering | Enabled w/o Sprites |
| Alpha Testing | Normal |
| FrameBuffer Access | Read/Write | <----------------
| Off-Screen Drawing | Full | <--------------
| Polygon Mode | Textured |
| Texture Windows | Enabled |
| VSync | Enabled |
| Banshee Code | Enabled |
| MDEC Format | Texture |
| Experimental Flipping | On | <--------------
| Experimental Screen Sizing | Off |
| FrontBuffer Rendering Fix | Off |
| FF7 TextureWindow Fix | Off |
| DMAChain Fix | Long |
*-----------------------------*---------------------*


Pay special attention to the options marked with arrows.. This setting is for maximum graphic effects.. It may be slow on your system.. If so, set:

Framebuffer Access to "write"
Off-Screen Drawing to "extra-fbr"

Experimental flipping should always be enabled for FF7, 8, and 9..
As to your pixelated 2d backgrounds, you can try bilinear filtering but it messes up the backgrounds as well.. My personal choice is to play at 640x480 res with 4xFSAA on.. This gives FF9 the best 2d backgrounds and 3d objects.. I do realize though that the voodoo 4500 may only have 2xFSAA.. IMO, iori's spu is currently the best spu for FF9 at the moment.. Here is a shot so you can compare it to yours..
 
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