View Full Version : Orion not up to par...

12-07-2000, 12:31 AM
I have an interesting question. I grabbed my neighbor's Orion for an evening to test before I bought and found that Mac Bench Scores are pitiful, but 3D is better...

My System:
PowerCenter 120--> XLR8 Carrier G3@432MHz
128MB Ram
System 9.0.4
Now Using the Orion w/ the newest drivers (Radeon 1.0) and newest OpenGL
MINIMUM Extensions

I was using an ATI Xclaim 3D 8MB and got a MacBench 5 Graphics score of 1962 with the minimal extensions (Using Universal 4.2 extensions). With the Orion (removed all the old ATI, and did a fresh install with extensions off) I got a MacBench score of 1320!?!? That's significantly lower and unaccecptable.

On the other (but less important hand) running Quake 1 demos I got frame rates that are much higher than the Xclaim...

I've tried everything that I could, different extensions etc., even disabled the USB mouse and went back to ADB. I searched XLR8yourmac and my Frame rates are a little slow, but not *too* bad... 2D just seems dismal..

Any help?



12-07-2000, 03:44 AM
I would delete all old ATI system resources and reinstall them using the 4.2 UNI install or Louie's set on our FTP server.

12-07-2000, 08:50 AM
I think some MacBench scores showed the RADEON was a bit slower than the ORION IN 2D. MacBench is old and not recommended as a good gauge of performance. Try some REAL WORLD apps and see how they run. Run some QT videos, scroll through some large docs.

I do not remember if MacBench sets the resolution and bit depth during the test. If this is off... and the ORION is running at say 1280x1024, but the XCLAIM was only running at 1027x768 - the XLCAIM should be faster.

Have fun storming the castle!

12-07-2000, 10:20 AM
I've tried real world and it seems about the same, maybe a tinsey bit better. I'm trying the new driver set and we'll see from there... I may have alomost convinced myself of a V4.. I tried unreal tournament and loved it... :-) I'll keep you posted.


12-07-2000, 11:09 AM
Well I tried Louie's driver set, and same results. MB5 1320.

The entire system is feeling sluggish too, how much is CPU related?


12-07-2000, 12:14 PM

I disagree with P18 and I smell smoke since he does not know how MacBench 5 runs the 2D graphics tests. MacBench 5 is more than adequate in testing your vintage Mac for all of its tests, and 2D graphics scores. I recommend it. If you are interested in 3D benchmarks or games or dual processor benchmarks, then OK, find something else. Your test has validly shown either something missing in your inits (such as QuickDraw acceleration or something cancelling it) or something wrong with the card. Did you test the Orion in his machine?

As I recall, you have a 17" monitor capable of a max of 1024x768xMillions. Both of your tests with the Xclaim 3D and Orion were at this resolution on this monitor?

Here is what I found for the Orion on Breedon's site all in 33MHz PCI slot:

MB5 Graphics B&W G3/400
3543 at 1024x768xThousands
3531 at 1024x768xThousands (another test at the same res)
3168 at 1024x768xMillions
2407 at 1152x870xMillions

MB5 Graphics PCP 210 (no G3)
1356 at 1152x870xMillions

MacBench 5, as you have discovered, is an excellent tool for checking performance of newly installed hardware and for seeing how inits and fonts can drag down system performance. I use it to check hardware and software installations and as a tool to see if something is going wrong. No benchmark for the Mac is the be all and end all, but to say that MacBench 5 is not recommended? Give me a break. It is also an excellent stress test of striped RAID and for tweaking RAID performance. k

12-07-2000, 12:29 PM
So I should expect performance between the B&W and the PCP210, give the correct drivers..

One major difference is that I can't interleave ram, but I do have the G3. My major concern is that the old card out did the new card in 2D. If I can at least match +10% the old Xclaim I will be happy.

Kaye- Could my poor disk performance be a factor too?

I will do more testing, but I had to give the card back and don't have access to it for a while. He has a 6300 (I think) and it is bare bones.

I'll keep you posted and thanks for the info


[This message has been edited by EGPoulin (edited 07 December 2000).]

12-07-2000, 02:17 PM

Inability to interleave ram will give you a mild performance hit in graphics but then it certainly has not crippled your Xclaim 3D, so that is not the problem. Slow disk performance will not affect your graphics scores. MacBench 5 does a pretty good job of factoring out slow disk performance and slow CD-ROM drive performance in arriving at a graphics score. Yes, when I run the MB5 Graphics test with my Kenwood 52X SCSI CD-ROM drive as opposed to a 16X CD-ROM drive, the test completes MUCH faster and with only one progress bar, but the test score result is the same because MB5 factors out the time that the hard drive and CD-ROM drive take to provide additional data to the video card. This is within about 1% though the MacBench docs do say that repeated tests will vary 1-3%.

Whenever you see the spinning beach ball in the Graphics test, or whatever it looks like, in MB5, it is factoring out that time so that the results are strictly a measure of the motherboard, ram, processor, video card, monitor, resolution, and number of colors. Larger monitors do test slower and sometimes an adaptor will test slower and can be a bottleneck by themselves or in combination with some monitors. k

12-07-2000, 04:07 PM
I agree. MacBench 5 has some warts, and is aging, but it still has its uses. Like any other tool, it does require some understanding on the part of the operator.

I suspect something is amiss here. Could be a defective card, or a crucial extension could be missing, or the wrong revision. Supposedly, the latest Radeon installer on the ATI website and our FTP site is universally usable on both Orion and other Rage 128 cards as well as the Radeon.

since we have yet to see an actual shipping sample of the PCI Radeon, we haven't been able to put this stuff to the test.

12-07-2000, 10:57 PM
Thanks guys, as usual, stellar!

One other question (for the time being): I'm having a hard time sorting through the reviews on Breedon's site. I was looking to compare the V4 to the Orion (strictly in 2d, I know that 3D in V4 is better game wise for the most part.. however openGL still needs work.)

They say that the V4 and V5 are the same in 2D since the V5 only uses one chip for this anyway, so I'm basing my comparison on the 2D V5 tests, and looking at the 3D on the V4 review.

MB5 Scores for Orion (B&W G3/400, 33MHz Slot)(from Kaye):
3543 at 1024x768xThousands
3531 at 1024x768xThousands

MB5 For V5 same machine:
3789 at 1024x768xThousands
(No review for a Vintage Mac)

Also Interesting to note that in 2D the V5 edged out a Rage128r2 (Rage in a G4/400 66MHz slot..)

So I'm a little lost on my decision. It seems that the V4 is a little better all around, but it does cost more (not by much before the rebate). Add to that the flakey drivers, but to give cridit to 3DFX, they have come a way...


Thanks guys! (If only I could help others as much as you have helped me...)


12-07-2000, 11:49 PM
Well, if you keep studying long enough, there may not be any Orions left to buy.

12-08-2000, 12:11 PM
I do have some idea of how MB5 works. My main reason for questioning it was that when Mike Breeden ran some tests with it (Orion vs. RADEON) he got some weird results - the ORION (ragepro) was faster in 2D! http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/eek.gif than the RADEON. Of course this was on new hardware. Still there was a big debate on MacBench and even the developers of the software did not recommend it. But then it was ZIFF DAVIS, so what do they know http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif There is also the MB5 cache issue - it shows a G3/466 (ibook) is way slower than it should be. This is because MB expects a 512KB or larger cache... so the cache is 1/2 the expected size, but its also 2x as fast, yet MB doesnt show this. Of course that shouldnt affect video scores. MB5 is fairly old. I think ZIFF-D was saying it was built before the iMacs came out...

I do like my ATI ORION for 2D. It is great. I love my V3-3K for unREAL & UT. The V4 is a bit expensive for what you get and I'm not sure how well 3Dfx card work when in the same system. ATI is better when you have multiple ATI card (or any other card). 3Dfx may not play well if you have a couple cards in the same system. The V5 dropped in price BIG TIME - from $330 to $230... so if the V4 drops 30% to $100 - that would be the buy. Overall I think 3Dfx builds better (more stable) drivers, but they support less. If you need a card NOW - GET one. Otherwise there is always something better around the bend. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Have fun storming the castle!

12-08-2000, 01:30 PM
Unfortunately that "bend" is an infinate one... I would rather spend a little more and get a better card to have it be competitive in everything longer.. and I do need it now.

I see bigger and better games and less intensive 2D work in the future so I think that I'm going with the V4. I'll let you know how I make out.

Net upgrade to save for will be the Gurus 50pin 'cuda and Speed tools.. hopefully shortly after XMas.. :-)

Talk to you all later.


12-08-2000, 04:07 PM
just to muddy the waters further, PCI Radeon are now in-bound. We should begin shipping them next week.


12-08-2000, 04:17 PM
Yet again the bend furthers....

How Much?

12-08-2000, 11:30 PM
Not to detract from the Radeon, which will be a fantastic buy primarily because of the peerless Gurus' support and endorsement, but the V5 is an outstanding multifunctional card with a future. The V4 is nothing but a few crumbs thrown to the cheapskates in the crowd. Those who buy the V4 will hate themselves when the the V6 is released. V5 owners will happily wait for the the V7.

12-09-2000, 06:14 AM
sorry for the confusion.

Radeon AGP are inbound.

still no accurate anticipated ship-date for Radeon PCI--which is friggin' incredible, when you consider that ATI is missing the Christmas season.

that company is obviously run by complete dolts. Yes, I said that publicly.

12-09-2000, 02:08 PM
Just the same screwy release/availability story as they pulled with the 128 series last year.

This is a company that, when you ask for tech support, they take the time to email you to say that it will be at least 6 months before they can help because they are so busy.

They tech support ranks with Formac, Symantec, Lucas Arts and others in the Hall of Shame.

12-10-2000, 01:42 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>that company is obviously run by complete dolts.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Your statement only confirms that you know what is going on - as many of the tech-head-video-junkie-general-mac-masses know. No wonder nVidia is killing ATI... good thing nV is coming to the Mac http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Maybe the NV15/20 PCI comes out before the RADEON PCI?

ATI has its strong points... multiple cards tend to work together fairly well. Their 2D is pretty good and they take their time to write stable and fast drivers... WAIT that last 'advantage' was a disadvantage. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

ATI's support can make 3Dfx's unsupported V3, look like its supported http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Have fun storming the castle!

[This message has been edited by PENDRAGON18 (edited 10 December 2000).]

01-07-2001, 09:34 PM
I got a Rage Orion & it just doesn't seem that fast.
I don't have full MB5 with CD, so it wouldn't do video tests. However, I used cinebench 2000 and Thruput 1.4. As I expected, numbers are pretty low.
Sys is 7300 with Powerlogix G3 350/175 50mhz with 144mb of RAM, OS 8.1, ATI Universal installer 4.2, Apple OpenGL 1.1.2, QD3D 1.6. I think OpenGL was last install.
-Any tips or anything to make this run fast or something I missed? Do I have to pull the old VRAM or something?? Kind of stumped.

01-07-2001, 10:05 PM
I like to run QT/mov files. My B&W G3/300 could do 1600x1200x32 (or was it 16?) @25FPS (maybe 24.5). It ran well, but then a 100Mhz bus and 8ns RAM is going to help.... my ORION run nicely. I have not run that card on an OLD WORLD MAC. I have run the ATI-NEXUS R-PRO 8MB (64bit) and an ATI XCLAIM (R-PRO?) 8MB (with upgrade) and they seem to like uncompressed video best (even at 3.5MB/s!). Currently my system has the V3-3Kb12fw+VSA100-112drivers. Its also a G3/500/250/50 so my results would be different. I am also still running the ancient ixM TT8MB card.... w/o any particular drivers.

Try turning all ALL unecessary extensions - esp appletalk (make sure its off in the control panel first), open transport, printers, faxes, crap, etc...

I would doubt a video card would benifit from a bus master slot and if you have a fast scsi (with fast drives) you will want to keep THAT card where it is. If your RAM is not interleaved you may want to try that - unless you had issues previously - or if you had issues you may want to consider getting some quality RAM (gives about 10 to 20% boost is app speed... not sure bout video). Probably a better solution would be a XLR8G3/466 (clock it to 500 if stable). I think the XLR8 466's are still very nicely priced... maybe they the price will be even nicer after MWSF! http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

The only other option for fast 'affordable' 2D video is the FORMACPROF3 or 4, although I do not really consider the 4 'affordable' - the specs look killer though!

The Nexus 32MB will not be faster. Chances are the RADEON 32MB PCI will not be faster (for 2D anyway) as well.

01-07-2001, 10:28 PM
If you are running OS 8.6 or 9.04, lose the Universal Installer/OpenGL stuff and load the latest Apple/ATI/OpenGL 1.1.3 stuff here ftp://ftp.macgurus.com//ftp/ati_stuff/LatestATI%252FOpenGL_stuff/ . This is from my 8.6 and 9.04 System Folders for Orion.