Real3D Starfighter

by Anand Lal Shimpi on March 10, 1998 11:32 PM EST

Out of the box, it becomes apparent that Real3D went to a lot of trouble to ensure that your first experience with the i740 graphics chipset would be a positive one. Unfortunately, the three attractive CD-ROM's packaged with the StarFighter weren't enough to remove all of the hassles of installing this card.

Under Windows NT 4.0, the main requirement that must be met is that you need to have Service Pack 3 Installed. NT4 Service Pack 3 can be obtained from Microsoft's site or if you happen to be one of the lucky few that got an Internet Explorer 4.0 CD with Windows NT4, you can find Service Pack 3 on that CD-ROM as well. A quick reboot after the StarFighter AGP drivers were installed gave Windows NT the "ok" to bring up the Display Properties Window which allowed the test system's [2D] resolution to be set at 1024 x 768 x 16-bit color. At that color depth the highest achievable resolution was a disappointment at 1280 x 1024, for those of you with 21"+ monitors you may be out of luck for now, unless Real3D can address this issue in a later revision of the drivers. Quake 2 easily ran under Windows NT 4.0, under the Video menu the "default OpenGL" driver was selected, revealing the outstanding image quality of the i740...and making way for some impressive performance.

Windows 95 was where the large portions of the StarFighter's installation process were met with frustration. First of all, you simply must have Windows 95 Service Release 2.0 installed. Furthermore, the drivers will not install on any version of Windows 95 prior to Service Release 2.1. If you happen to have Windows 95 Service Release 1, you can download most of the Service Release 2 components off of, however upgrading from OSR2.0 to OSR2.1 is a more picky process. The only difference between 2.0 and 2.1 is the presence of the USB Supplement Patch in OSR2.1, this patch can be obtained by searching for the string 'USBSUP' using FTPSearch. To find out which version of Windows 95 you have, check the System Control Panel (Start>Settings>Control Panel>System) and look at the Windows 95 version number under the heading System. If it reads 4.00.950 A, then you have the original release of Windows 95, if it reads 4.00.950 B then you have the Service Release 2 and probably just need to upgrade to 2.1 using the USB Supplementary Patch.

Even after patching the test system, the StarFighter AGP would not install properly, it caused a resource conflict with the PCI to PCI Bridge of the AOpen AX6L Test Motherboard...then later it caused a conflict with the System Board PnP BIOS Extension, the easiest way to resolve these two conflicts was to perform another clean format of the hard drive and install everything from scratch. The procedure for installing software is also a bit tricky with the StarFighter, first the OS must be installed, then any/all patches necessary for normal operation of the StarFighter, next Direct X 5.0 (155 or later - included on the StarFighter Drivers CD-ROM) and then the StarFighter AGP drivers. Currently the StarFighter AGP is only officially supported on Pentium II systems, however Real3D is currently working for non-Intel chipset drivers for VP3, MVP3, Aladdin V, SiS 5591, etc.. boards.

Real3D included an excellent set of Direct X 5.0 drivers for the StarFighter AGP, in addition to an OpenGL - D3D Wrapper on the Drivers CD-ROM. An OpenGL ICD (Installable Client Driver) is currently in the works for Windows 95, and it will shortly make its debut...hopefully boosting performance and image quality with OpenGL applications running under Windows 95. The Direct X drivers Real3D chose to include are very close to the final candidate of the drivers, so performance in that area doesn't have much room to be expanded.

Exploring the i740 The Source of the Reality
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  • MonkeyPaw - Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - link

    I dunno, I have a good feeling about 3DFX. I suspect that they will be the only game in town before too long. OpenGL? DirectX? No chance compared to Glide!
  • dakishimesan - Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - link

    I totally agree. Though I am still holding a candle for S3.
  • pcfxer - Thursday, November 9, 2017 - link

    You funny bugger lol!
  • ozzuneoj86 - Monday, January 11, 2021 - link

    I don't know, despite the decent performance here, I have a feeling that Intel is going to give up on discrete graphics for 23-24 years or so. Maybe some Earth shaking event, like a global pandemic or something, will get them drive them to release another video product.
  • 0ldman79 - Wednesday, January 19, 2022 - link

    They won't do it for a pandemic, I predict it will be related to some kind of encoding or encryption task, possibly done on a GPU due to their parallel nature and high memory bandwidth.

    Just crazy ramblings of an old man...

    /sarcasm people, look at the dates

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