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About Maes

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    Here's an old post I made on the subject,

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  1. And so, today I found an old 16 MB Creative Labs Banshee 3D at a flea market. At first I didn't give a shit about it, because I already had plently of lowly AGP 1x-2x-4x videocards, but then I noticed it was a PCI model, in its original box (also had the manual, but not the CDs...bummer). Now, these are kinda rare, and about the most powerful PCI video card ever made in its day (if you exclude some modern nVidia-on-PCI contraptions).

    In any case, I slapped it into my el cheapo Celeron 1200 b0x to see what it can pull..guess what, it didn't work. Nada. The system booted all the way up to windows (or a DOS boot disk) but there was no screen output whatsoever, not even at POST.

    I switched slots...nada. Angry, I put a second PCI card in slot 1 (an S3 Virge which are a dime a dozen but always a nice fallback to have) and booted to win xp, with the monitor on the S3. Now it displayed shit correctly, and it detected the banshee, it could also be used as an extended display, but when I checked the specs I noticed that it said Video BIOS: NONE (SECONDARY ADAPTER). No BIOS? WTF?

    I checked and re-checked the box and manual and tne net whether I was supposed to have another video card working along with the Banshee (but then why they'd put a VGA output on it?) but no, it was supposed to be standalone.

    Thinking about the BIOS thing, I stumbled upon an old readme that mentioned failure to post and pointed me to the direction of a BIOS flashing utility (for DOS, obviously). I downloaded it, made a floppy, and initially I tried the "flashing with another video card present" instructions: no good. So I left the Banshee alone in slot 1, took out the S3, let it boot from the disk...typed the flasher's commands blindly and hoped for the best. And at the next reboot....voila', the Banshee regained its light!

    Under XP...it performs adequately for videos and office use, some older 2D games, but the drivers just don't do it justice. GZDoom and PrBoom/GlBoom+ are reduced to a crawl, whereas an Ati Rage with less RAM manages to be kinda playable. Surprisingly, 3DMark01 does start, but it's like watching a slideshow :-p

    Also, the GPU gets fucking hot yet it's only equipped with a measly heatsink (there are some -unsoldered- fan leads on the card, but they might not be functional).

    1. Maes


      Oh bugger...it's totally fucked up now. It didn't survive the next power cycle, and is only detected once in a while by windows, and never by DOS, at least on this box. I will have to try it on another mobo to declare it totally dead/junk :-(