Nexus_06

Unable to set 32 bit color depth.

28 posts in this topic

It's been along time since I used Windows 98SE, but I've installed it again on my legacy machine on an extra HD so I can play some of my old games.

I have a bit of a problem, I cannot set 32 bit color depth even though it's available through the video settings and also the nvidia taskbar icon. I just get a black screen, and it doesn't revert after 15 seconds. I have to go into safe mode and reset it. Is it a problem with the drivers or Windows98SE, and are there any solutions anyone knows to this problem?

Here's a rundown of my hardware:

ASUS TUV4X Motherboard, bios 1006.002 beta, VIA 133T Apollo Pro chipset - Driver Version 5.11/5.13

Intel Pentium III-S Tualatin 1.4ghz SL6BY

1 GB Crucial RAM 2*512MB sticks 3-2-2-6 - Interleave enabled via WPCRset

BFG/NVIDIA 6600 AGP 256MB at 2X - 64MB Aperture - Driver Version 81.98

Hitachi SuperScan 814 Monitor - Driver from 2000

Creative Sound Blaster Live! Value CT4830 - Driver Version emu10k1

Maxtor Diamondmax 120GB HD

Realtek RTL8139 NIC

Plextor PX-W5224A CDRW

Lite-On LH-20A1H DVDRW

Everything works fine in Windows2000 and WIndowsXP. (Just different HD's)

As for software, I have just a few thing's installed, Diskeeper 9, Daemon Tools 3.47, CloneCD 5.3.1.4, ISOBuster 1.9.1.1, Nero 6.6.1.15D, Firefox 2.0.0.20, Java Runtime 1.6.0.7, the service pack beta4 on the forums, and most of the updates recommended by mdgx, as well as Plus!98. FFDShow, Reclock, AC3Filter and Media Player Classic are the only video related things installed. Some misc utils like process explorer and autoruns.

Edited by Nexus_06
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I'm not sure if Windows 98 is even capable of handling 32-bit color.

Have you tried reducing it to 24 bit or possibly 16 bit? How about 256 colors, does that work?

Have you tried lowering the screen resolution? Maybe you're monitor can't handle 32bit at whatever high resolution you've set it at.

Try to see if it works correctly at a lower setting such as (800x600x16 bit) first, then work you're way up. I find that 1024x768x16 bit is optimum for Windows Me (assuming you're computer is in the 866 MHz - 1 GHz range, like mine is; and about 256 - 512 Mb RAM). Any higher resolution and the icons and text is too small and it hurts my eyes. Also, it's noticeably slower when increasing to True Color (24 Bit, millions of colors).

It's not like you'll actually see a difference beyond High Color (16 bit) anyway - which is roughly 65,000 colors... whereas 15 bit is 32,000, 8 bit is 256 colors, and so on. Trust me, 16 bit is "beyond adequate" for any Windows 98 purposes. And you have it set at twice that! Kinda extreme if you ask me. Not even your 1 GHz computer will be able to handle that many colors without putting some drag on the cpu. And no, I don't mean 16 colors (that would be 4 bit.)

It's Windows 98 for crying out loud.

Oh, and another thing. Before you go experimenting with updates from MDGX, it's good to make sure that everything is in 100% working order before you tamper with your system by installing that stuff. Because then you won't know if it was mdgx's "upgrades" that caused the problem or not. I'd be very cautious about fiddling with those things. Just my opinion. If you had system restore on Windows 98, which you don't unfortunately, I'd definitely try rolling back my system to how it was before the MDGX "upgrade." Just sayin'.

To elaborate on my point concerning 32 bit on Windows 98, consider the following quote from wikipedia:

"Many modern desktop systems (Mac OS X, GNOME, KDE, Windows XP/Vista/7, etc.) offer a 32-bit color option (given a suitably modern video card), but in that context, 32-bit color refers to 24-bit TrueColor with 8 bits for an alpha channel. When switching to an 8/16/24-bit color option in those systems, generally transparency/translucency effects are disabled, and the only reduction in color depth is seen when going to 8/16-bit color. "

Furthermore,

"While some high-end graphics workstation systems and the accessories marketed toward use with such systems, as from SGI, have always used more than 8 bits per channel, such as 12 or 16 (36-bit or 48-bit color), such color depths have only worked their way into the general market more recently."

^ quoted from the article entitled "Color Depth"

Therefore, I think it's totally safe to assume that 32 bit color on Windows 98 is complete overkill. However, I may be wrong. It's always good to get a second opinion so maybe somebody can offer different advice. I don't know.

Okay, I've thought about it some more, and it definitely sounds like the problem is your monitor. If it goes black like that when switching settings, then obviously you're pushing it beyond it's limits. Assuming Windows 98, like I explained, can even handle 32 bit.

Edited by ScrewUpgrading
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My monitor was something like $2000 when it was new (21" CRT, up to 120hz refresh) it works fine in Windows 2000 and XP at those settings.

Anyways, it works perfectly fine in 98SE at 16 bit color 1600x1200/85hz, I just haven't used 98 in 10+ years. So maybe I remember it wrong being able to do 32 bit, possibly it was 24 bit color it could do at the time.

Thanks for your reply, it got me thinking about some things.

As for the upgrades they are working fine at current settings, I just wanted 24/32 bit color if possible =]

I have hundreds of games for win9x and dos I want to play again (real ones, not pirated!) so I decided to setup my legacy box for it, just getting familiar with 98 again, I'm very very experienced in 2k and above.

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Therefore, I think it's totally safe to assume that 32 bit color on Windows 98 is complete overkill. However, I may be wrong.

You certainly are unless you are not bothered by the degradation of image quality that is very obvious in 16bit mode, eg, horrible banding in gradients.

OP, there is no operating system reasons why you couldn't get a true color display with win98 and since your hardware is not the issue I suggest you uninstall/reinstall your video drivers, perhaps trying a different version.

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"OP, there is no operating system reasons why you couldn't get a true color display with win98 and since your hardware is not the issue I suggest you uninstall/reinstall your video drivers, perhaps trying a different version."

Or, if it ain't broke, then don't fix it. If the OP can get 24 bit display, then that's probably as good as he will ever need to have. It's still slower than High Color 16 bit though.

"You certainly are unless you are not bothered by the degradation of image quality that is very obvious in 16bit mode, eg, horrible banding in gradients."

Hmm.... just tried switching to 24 bit mode True Color. It made all my images look much worse. It brings out every little Jpeg artifact and defect. If you're entire collection of pictures (I have over 5,000 family photos) consists entirely of lossless TIF files or uncompressed Bitmaps, sure, every picture WILL look better in true color than high color. However, it's a complete waste of hard drive space using TIF, TGA, BMP, or PNG files.

I'm not exactly sure there's dithering going on with True Color settings on Win9x, hence the term "true color," no dithering. Either way, since most people use Jpeg and not bigger-sized lossless formats for sharing pictures, there's no point in anything beyond a 16 bit or at the most 24 bit display, unless you're using photoshop. That's Just my opinion though. I still think 32 bit is completely useless for any practical Win9x purpose.

I'd settle for either 16 bit or 24.

Edited by ScrewUpgrading
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My monitor was something like $2000 when it was new (21" CRT, up to 120hz refresh) it works fine in Windows 2000 and XP at those settings.

Anyways, it works perfectly fine in 98SE at 16 bit color 1600x1200/85hz, I just haven't used 98 in 10+ years. So maybe I remember it wrong being able to do 32 bit, possibly it was 24 bit color it could do at the time.

1 - Reduce to a smaller Screen Resolution

and/or

2 - Reduce the Refresh Rate (60hz is standard for somewhat "flickery" Wall-Outlet-speed Hz...)

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_file_formats

"the JPEG/JFIF format, which supports 8 bits per color (red, green, blue) for a 24-bit total, producing relatively small files. When not too great, the compression does not noticeably detract from the image's quality, but JPEG files suffer generational degradation when repeatedly edited and saved."

^There you go, proof that a 32 bit display is pointless, since most of the graphics you see on the interwebs (JPEG) will only support 24 bit max. And even then, most of those pictures won't contain the full amount of millions of colors but will only use thousands.

Edited by ScrewUpgrading
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You should be able to run 32-bit color on your 98SE computer, providing you have the proper 98SE drivers installed for both the video adapter card and the monitor. I've used 32-bit color on 98SE for years, since I installed a video card with memory large enough to handle it. Your 256MB video card is more than adequate to handle 32-bit color.

First, right-click on the desktop, select Properties, then Settings, then Advanced. Check the monitor tab, to ensure that Windows is using the Hitachi driver, not the Default Monitor driver. If the Hitachi driver is being used, switch to the Default Monitor. The Default Monitor may correct the problem you're having with 32-bit color. If the Default Monitor driver is being used, switch to the Hitachi Monitor driver. If the Hitachi driver is not found, or doesn't work, or Windows switches back to the Default Monitor, find and install the proper 98SE driver for your Hitachi monitor.

You indicated your Hitachi monitor driver was designed to work in Windows 2000. Is this driver also specified to work in Windows 98SE? Similarly, are your NVidia drivers specified to work in 98SE? If not, find and install the correct drivers for 98SE.

If you install new drivers, you may have to remove older drivers, first, in order to get the new drivers to work. For this purpose, I've used "Nasty File Remover" (NFR) available here:

http://majorgeeks.com/Nasty_File_Remover_d3233.html

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I might be weird, but I actually prefer my background wallpapers to be 256 colors.

A true color image that is 1024 x 768 requires 2.25 MB of memory whether it's a Jpeg, BMP, or whatever.

The same size image, quantized down to 256 colors only requires 769 KB of memory. So, you're saving nearly 1.5 Mb RAM just from your wallpaper. If you make it a GIF or 8 bit PNG, it uses less disk space as well. I've found that reducing the number of colors (using Floyd Steinberg, not ordered dithering) gets rid of all the banding and gradients. The image becomes smoother looking.

That's just my own weird personal preference, and I can understand if you think it's retarded. But to me, it actually does look more pleasing that way, somewhat artistic.

Edited by ScrewUpgrading
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I'm not sure if Windows 98 is even capable of handling 32-bit color.

snip

To elaborate on my point concerning 32 bit on Windows 98, consider the following quote from wikipedia:

"Many modern desktop systems (Mac OS X, GNOME, KDE, Windows XP/Vista/7, etc.) offer a 32-bit color option (given a suitably modern video card), but in that context, 32-bit color refers to 24-bit TrueColor with 8 bits for an alpha channel. When switching to an 8/16/24-bit color option in those systems, generally transparency/translucency effects are disabled, and the only reduction in color depth is seen when going to 8/16-bit color. "

^ quoted from the article entitled "Color Depth"

snip

Windows 98, and even windows 95, can handle 32 bit color. The word "modern" in this Wikipedia article actually refers to the 1990's and up. These OS's (and many others that are also capable of handling 32 bit) were not individually listed as that was not the purpose of the article.

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Okay, so Windows 95 can use 32 bit color, news to me. The million dollar question is, what are you going to do with an extra billion colors that you can't see anyway, and most video games use a fraction of a billion colors, same goes for all Jpegs (usually only thousands of colors) and most other formats? What's the point?

oh yeah, I forgot, it just another gimmick to rip off consumers. "Here, buy this graphics card with billion of colors, it doesn't matter if you're brain can only make out 7 million of them, it's got Billions!" Just send us your money now, or else you won't be cool and people will mock you for your un-coolness. They will call you a stupid id*** Windows 98 user who's missing out on a couple billion invisible colors.

You know what, I hope they invent something with Trillions of colors. Then everybody with 32 bit (billions of colors) won't be hip and cool anymore. Doesn't matter if the human brain can only see 7 million colors, it's the fact that I paid $900 for my graphic card that gives me bragging rights over the other mouth breathing idiots.

I really, really, really, really, hope that computers start becoming out of date in like 3 months in the near future. I'd be interested in seeing just how long people will buy into all this garbage before they finally figure out that they're slaves. Come on people, faster, faster, faster, more progress. Now now now.

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Ok, thanks to those folks who made useful replies, and didn't hi-jack the thread into a discussion about personal preferences and image quality arguments. ;)

I will try the default monitor, and lower the refresh rate to 60hz and see if that helps. If not I'll try some other nvidia driver versions and clean them out first with driver sweeper.

Yes the drivers are for win98, otherwise they wouldn't install or work at all.

:EDIT:

Setting the refresh rate to 60hz worked! thanks =]

Edited by Nexus_06
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@ScrewUpgrading: 16 bits color can be a lot slower than 24 or 32 bits. Internally windows uses 24 bits, so a lot of bit shuffling has to be done to fit the 24 bits 8-8-8 pixels in 16 bits 5-5-5 or 5-6-5 pixels. Each time a pixel has been written to the video memory.

On the other hand, less memory have to be written when using 16 bits, so when you've got a slow bus (ISA?), 16 bits might be faster.

When bandwidth and video memory is no bottleneck, 32 bits can be even faster than 24 bits. 32 bits is actually 24 bits and a padding byte, to make each pixel address a multiple of 4. Due to architecture oddities this makes accessing pixels faster.

Edited by Mijzelf
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actually it's 24 bits color and 8 bits of alpha... but again this discussion is besides the point of the thread.

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actually it's 24 bits color and 8 bits of alpha...
<br />I don't think so. Alpha suggests transparency. What do you want to see through your monitor? Edited by Mijzelf
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