GeForce 3 reviewed

This morning started off in the most surprising of ways. Some of the biggest names around were reporting about the power of the GeForce 3. All their information, for the most part, was based upon the numbers presented to them by NVIDIA.

A few of our fellow web journalists tested NVIDIA’s claims with their GeForce 2 Ultras, and a few others blatantly stated that they had a GeForce 3, but that numbers were not possible due to driver issues.

Apparently driver issues and NVIDIA PR were to be damned. Digit-Life had not one, but four GeForce 3’s in their hands and the new 10.50 Detonator drivers primed to do battle. Their massive review, which weighs in at 1.88MB, is filled with a barrage of tests that stress the functionality and performance of many of the GeForce 3’s newly touted features.

The most impressive of which are the patented Quincux AA method and a 32-tap anisotropic filtering method. The most disappointing among them is the apparent continued use of DXT1 in 16-bit mode.

Many of the reviews claimed the GeForce 3 wouldn’t seem all that different from the GeForce 2 Ultra in performance. After having read this article, I am not so sure that is a fair statement. NVIDIA’s first attempt at reducing overdraw seems to have been effective. Even at a lower clock rate, the GeForce 3 shows its muscle over the GeForce 2 Ultra. Is the performance difference so great you should dump your Ultra for it? I would say only if you can get your money’s worth back out of the Ultra in auction or selling to a friend. If you were in the market for a new card, though, the performance difference—and most importantly the image quality difference—is simply impossible to ignore.

I just get this huge warm fuzzy feeling all over when I think about running Quake 3 in 800x600x32, 32-tap anisotropic filtering, and Quincux AA.

I am not sure how many of you have tried out 4X FSAA and 8-tap anisotropic filtering on your GeForce/GTS/MX series cards, but the difference in quality is simply breathtaking. It can even make an old dated engine like Half-Life take on totally new and impressive visual quality.

I see the GeForce 3 as a real winner and step forward, if only for its promise of better image quality now and even greater quality in the future.

Comments closed
    • Anonymous
    • 19 years ago

    “Image quality is subjective though. So if you like 1600×1200 with all those jagged edges, go with it. I on the other hand will play at a lower res and enjoy seeing straight edges. ”

    FSAA is a load. Half the edges on the screen at any given time don’t have enough contrast to be noticeable anyway! If you’re talking about a neon sign against a black background (eg, Homeworld), sure, but for most games.. moderate benefits at best.

    Besides, real pixels are _always_ preferable to interpolated pixels.

    Now if one day quality FSAA becomes free– instead of the 40-60% frame rate hit we get even with the swizzy GeForce3– then maybe, just maybe, I’ll be interested. But right now it’s an incredibly expensive proposition for a minor increase in quality– and you can achieve a similar effect (reduce visibility of pixels) by moving up to higher resolutions anyway.

    Q.E.D., your mileage may vary, but FSAA is

    • Ryu Connor
    • 19 years ago

    i[

    • Anonymous
    • 19 years ago

    you guys need to be playing Homeworld: Cataclysm. Even better than the original, IMO, and all the reviews were 9/10 or so.

    • Anonymous
    • 19 years ago

    Homeworld is your favorite Forge?? Do you play online? What’s your handle?

    • Anonymous
    • 19 years ago

    *[

    • Forge
    • 19 years ago

    P.P.S. – based o my thouroughly informal testing, it looks like 800x600x32 with multitap and high aniso is roughly equal to 1600x1200x32 with mild anitaliasing. I just don’t get antialiasing. It’s got to be great for people with monitors that max at 1024×768, but WTF are those people doing shelling out 500$ for an Ultra or GF3 when their monitors are such POS’s? I greatly prefer 1600x1200x32 AA free to GF3’s Quadcox at 1024×768. Sure, antialiasing makes almost-level lines smooth, but so does high res. Plus, high res doesn’t make your menus all blurry and screwed up. Go try playing Homeworld (once again one of my favorites, ever since I got it running in WINE) at 1600×1200, then run again at 800x600x32 with AA of your choice. Either it stairsteps to heaven, or the menus go unreadable. I’ll check on AA again in another generation. (GF3 ultra or GF4? What do you think NV will call NV25?)

    • Forge
    • 19 years ago

    Strike that. Should be ‘far more recent’. This is a case like where 6.18 was faster than 6.31 for a great many people.

    • Forge
    • 19 years ago

    This is linux 0.9-6, Win2k 7.17, 7.52 and 7.24. I haven’t tested Win9X any because I could give a rat’s ass what Win9X does. Also, can everyone please stop raving about the ‘10.30’ Detonators? If you get the latest Whistler snapshot and look at the NV driver info, it tells you that it is driver 5.12.2428.1030, taken from builds ~718. Sad. 7.52 is far more advanced.

    • Anonymous
    • 19 years ago

    *[

    • Anonymous
    • 19 years ago

    NVIDIA needs some emergency PR help right about now!

    • Anonymous
    • 19 years ago

    *[

    • Ryu Connor
    • 19 years ago

    I’m all about the eye candy vesus the resolution.

    • Anonymous
    • 19 years ago

    quake 3 at 800×600? that’s hardly 31337, wouldn’t you say?

    • Ryu Connor
    • 19 years ago

    Did you check out the review or are those the results you received from Linux?

    Digit-Life shows it outpacing the Ultra in Quake 3. It also has fantastic screens shots showing off the different levels of AA and anisotropic filtering.

    They also show that you have to edit the registry to unleash some of the features. In other words the control panel applet for the card doesn’t yet let you control all the features.

    If what you say is true for Linux than it seems that the 0.9-6 driver is quite a few steps behind the Windows drivers.

    • Forge
    • 19 years ago

    An unnamed individual has provided me with an Elsa Gladiac 920 for a few days of abusive evaluation. So far I am completely unimpressed. Their Quadcox or whichever antialiasing remains unimpressive (still not as good as V5 was), the anisotropic filtering is OK, but it’s only *as* fast as an Ultra, while costing more. In quite a few situations, I found my GF2U/Quadro2 *outrunning* GeForce3. My personal jury is still out, but I’m quite unimpressed.

    BTW, GeForce 3 is ‘NVIDIA card’ #1 (HWID 0200) on 0.9-6, just as I concluded. Option two is 0201, and option 3 carries a hardware ID of 0203. Makes you wonder, what with the HWID’s still matching the GF2 pattern…

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This