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War Games coder
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alrighty... here's what happened.

My little bro went ape this year and spent lots of money on gifts for everyone - my father got a 27" monitor (1366x768 16:9 - drivers not included, of course... had to write one), my other little bro got the I-POD Nano (the 60G thing with the video screen - plays movies very well)... and he got me something I couldn't stick into my current machine - A BFG GeForce 7800 GTX w/ 512M RAM overclocked from stock... of course on a PCI-Express slot... and here I am on my AGP 4x system. Hmm...

Well, my desktop requirements have always been tight. For development reasons, I need two CPUs on my machine. My Athlon MP series was never really designed for gaming, and has still somehow lived a long and productive life. Even if I maxed out the speed at 2800+, it would still only be using PC-2100 RAM (MP series never increased that speed). Besides which I'm not even sure that they make a PCI-Express mobo for MP systems.

OK, so MP is not going to work... but there's always the Athlon 64 X2's. So, off to the internet I go.

Long story short, I ended up with an Athlon 64 X2 4400 (2M cache), an SLI mobo (2x PCI express 16 slots), 2G Crucial DDR-400 dual channel RAM, and topped it with WinXP x64 Pro and a 300G SATA drive (as I will now be running 5 OS's on one machine - friggin x64 device drivers... grumble grumble). Oh, yes, it's time to upgrade :).

The old hardware... well, the WarfareSDL server could definately do well with an actual dual-CPU architecture, so it's getting that. I also think it would be quite fitting to put my old Radeon 9800 Pro into a headless server - I never could get the thing to work right. On the other hand, it's still worth something to some people, I may sell it to a co-worker here (after it can be confirmed that the thing hasn't been defective over all these years).

The video card arrives on Friday, everything else except the hard drive is already here (that's some slow shipping - the vid was bought several days before the rest of the equipment). Can't wait to try the sucker out :)
 

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PCSX2 Coder
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if you can afford it, get the DFi Lanparty SLi, tis a sexy board and comes with nice yellow round cables :D

altho the positioning of the north bridge fan isnt to brilliant, my x800 pushes against it if i have it in the top slot, needs moving around ;p
 

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War Games coder
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
refraction said:
if you can afford it, get the DFi Lanparty SLi, tis a sexy board and comes with nice yellow round cables :D

altho the positioning of the north bridge fan isnt to brilliant, my x800 pushes against it if i have it in the top slot, needs moving around ;p
Actually, I went with a Biostar N4SLI-A9.

Features the nVidia chipset, gigabit on-board LAN, 10 USB 2.0 ports (finally can reduce the hubs I'm using somewhat), 4 SATA 2.0 ports (3Gb/s), 8 channel on-board audio complete with digital encoder (will probably be disabled in favor of my X-Mystique unless it supports EAX as well, though), and RAID support that actually works on both the SATA and PATA buses, allowing me to use up to 8 drives right off the motherboard.

I also should have realized this sooner, but I'll just have to live with it... Of course the whole system has no support under Win '98... so all those games that I have that only ran under '9x (I had quite a few) will have to rely on future windows emulators to be finished (Arcanum, Betrayal at Antarra, etc - none of which work atm under cedega, which is currently focused on only the newest games).

EDIT: Just did a little research - the on-board audio is EAX capable. Now I need an SP/DIF connector and I can free up my entire PCI bus.

EDIT2: Just had a random thought... with these SLI motherboards, the PCI Express slots are between the two PCI-X16 slots. Just what are you going to be able to fit in there? There's a friggin fan in the way!
 

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War Games coder
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh damn that's cruel...

Apparently the shipment of the video card has been delayed until next friday. In desperation, I tried plugging in an old S3 Virge PCI card I still had lying around... and the new system doesn't even recognize it as a video card (one long beep followed by two short beeps at POST).

ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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カラム
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365 Posts
Does the Mobo have Onboard video? If it does, then try that until your 7800GTX comes.
 

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War Games coder
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Don't I wish. No, it has no on-board video. I wonder why this board doesn't think a PCI video card counts as video?
 

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Emulation Junkie
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828 Posts
KillerShots said:
I also should have realized this sooner, but I'll just have to live with it... Of course the whole system has no support under Win '98... so all those games that I have that only ran under '9x (I had quite a few) will have to rely on future windows emulators to be finished (Arcanum, Betrayal at Antarra, etc - none of which work atm under cedega, which is currently focused on only the newest games).
VMWare or Virtual PC running windows 98 should do just fine for ya.
 

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War Games coder
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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Jldnr77 said:
VMWare or Virtual PC running windows 98 should do just fine for ya.
Possibly... do these programs run well under
  • A 64-bit OS?
  • A 64-bit CPU?
At least checking the Virtual PC requirements, it specifically lists CPUs as being supported, an Athlon 64 not being one of them. Has anyone tried running this under WinXP x64 Pro? And for VMWare, has anyone tried running it with a 64-bit linux kernel?

EDIT: OK, VMWare works with 64-bit CPUs and OS's

EDIT2: What are the chances that VMWare will run on an "unsupported" linux OS like Gentoo?
 

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War Games coder
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Wow... just... wow...

Turns out the video card has been further delayed until 13 March, 2006. Doing a little more research on this beast my little bro ordered, everyone... and I mean everyone... is out of stock. This thread shows some of the insanity going on.

Just... wow...
 

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War Games coder
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I eventually bought a GeForce 6500 as a temporary card until the 7800 GTX arrives (eventually). I have a couple of things to say about it...

1. The nForce4 sound (Realtek AC'97)... well... it just kinda... sucks. Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about its capabilities, it's awesome that it does digital encoding in 5.1, supports EAX 2.0, etc. etc.... but it doesn't sound good. It's missing some depth. It's hard to explain. I eventually re-inserted my HDA-X Mystique and disabled the AC-97 thing. I lucked out as they both had 64-bit drivers (though the Mystique's are testing drivers (as in pre-beta)).

2. The 6500 behaves really oddly. The nVidia properties show it as having 512M RAM (It has 256). It blows the crap out of my 9800 Pro when playing UFO: Aftershock... but it's hard to compare such different systems (double clock speed, more than double RAM speed + double RAM, etc.)... and it performs rather crappily in just about everything else.

3. Linux support - initially, looks OK. Grab the nForce4 drivers from nVidia, the Athlon64 X2 drivers from AMD, customize the kernel, reboot. Everything fires up (though the SATA can't find an IRQ... have to tell the kernel to do an irqpoll, which it can't do in framebuffer mode (argh... it just never stops scrolling). It eventually works, but it takes a while). However, I have noted that it suffers from random lockups. Nothing caught in the logs, can't tell what's doing it atm. Found that I could drop the forcedeth module in favor of nVidia's nvnet module (yay), but that didn't solve the lockups. I did at one time catch the machine in a kernel panic, but I was an idiot and rebooted before looking at what was involved at the time. Also, unfortunately, there's still no linux driver for the X-Mystique that supports digital encoding... so I get no audio under linux.

In general, it appears to be a good upgrade. nVidia seems to be holding with their linux support, windows x64 is working fine, life is good. I'll eventually track down the lockups under linux and destroy them, so I'm not too worried about that... and I'm eagerly awaiting the distant arrival of the 7800 GTX (friggin insane delay).
 

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War Games coder
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
... interesting news today. My 7800 GTX order again got cancelled by yet another vendor... and the 7900 GTX is now (today) being released with 512M VRAM... significantly cheaper and with more availability. The pipelines also jumped from 24 to 32. I think I'm getting one of those instead.
 

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War Games coder
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Awesome news... the 7900 GTX came in last Thursday... only 3 months late!

... unfortunately, it appears I've been struck with "bleeding edge" blues... not much runs on the damned thing :(

3dmark 2006 gives a BSOD (sometimes) and dies. Far Cry refuses to start. Guild Wars gives me a BSOD... The one time 3Dmark 2006 came up, it gave me ~8600 3d marks... way below what I was expecting for this machine. I do note that the CPU benchmark gave 0 fps throughout (and it really was 0 fps - really painful to watch).

The only display drivers that work are the ones shipped from eVga (not available online). nVidia's drivers from their site insists that I don't have one of their cards.

On the other hand, I can crank up all the settings to maximum in F.E.A.R. at 1600x1200 and run at over 60 fps in their benchmark... though because I have no C: drive, I found it exceedingly difficult to patch the thing (had to drag out my 1G memory stick and have the patch work from that) <grumbles about incompetent coders>.

I'm still going back through all the games that could not be played with a Radeon 9800 Pro and trying to enjoy them. I've even dared to deal with Star Force in the Prince of Persia series (couldn't resist the 42" HD display with wireless RF game pad... don't have a keyboard / mouse in that room (atm), but the game pad works :)). While I am seeing a royal tonne of problems, I'm not yet sure if any were caused by that particular "virus."
 
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