Do I Really Need 3D Performance?

Could someone please clarify a point of confusion for me.

My video needs are almost 100% business (software development), so I think 3D is not relevant to me. Oh, I have been known to play a round of DOOM or Flight Simulator late at night, but VERY rarely. As a software developer who uses his PC all day long, I would never sacrifice the quality of my 2D performance for the off-chance of playing a game.

However, it’s not clear to me EXACTLY where the line between 2D and 3D lies. Something tells me that while I may be exclusively a business user, the side-effects of a lack-luster 3D video card will “creep” into my everyday life. For example, while I am NOT a gamer, I DO like to watch streaming media, play a DVD occasionally, tele-conference from home to the office, etc. The major problem I currently have with these applications is dropped frames, the result of an old PC (Pentium 120MHz and Matrox Millennium).

Most of these reviews and benchmarks focus on the FPS (frame/sec) by running GAME simulations. Well…, heck, I’m interested in FPS too! But I’m NOT a gamer. I don’t know whether the performance with respect to the FPS is ONLY a function of games, i.e., 3D (and by extension, CAD, animation rendering, etc.), OR, multi-media applications generally (e.g., Real, MS Media Player, tele-conferencing, etc.). These reviews just don’t make that clear.

I don’t want to buy something in the Matrox line (which seems ideal for my needs), only to find out later that I’m still dropping frames in Real and other streaming applications! Am I gonna get high-quality, 30-40 FPS (hopefully even better) performance w/ the Matrox line for MY business needs?

Are streaming media applications, DVD, tele-conferencing, etc. classified as 2D or 3D, at least for these benchmarks? And even if they are classified as 2D, does a lack-luster 3D performance bode poorly for these 2D applications (I’m especially thinking of the Matrox here)? It’s hard to tell because whenever FPS are discussed, it ALWAYS in terms of 3D, never 2D. I’m wondering whether I’m suppose to ASSUME that lack-luster FPS w/ 3D applies equally to 2D applications.

Yeah, I know, I could go w/ quality GeForce2 card to be safe, but frankly, I find the Matrox dual head quite appealing. And the GeForce2 TwinHead seems limited and immature at this time. Plus, I might lose something on the 2D side (e.g., sharpness, speed). If I did bypass the Matrox, I would probably consider the ATI All In Wonder since the TV feature is quite appealing (I can live w/ it’s middle-of-the-pack 3D performance).

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  1. 80% of the time, I'm using my PC for business apps or photo-editing. The other 20% of the time, I'm surfing the internet. I don't qualify as a gamer and from your description, neither do you, so what do you need 3D for???

    For gamers, frame-rate rules. For 2D users (like us) image-quality rules. To get the best of one, you have to compromise the other! I have a 16MB Matrox G450 (driving a Samsung 900NF) and it's been everything I could ask for.
  2. for 2d performance nothing can beat a Voodoo Banshee,not even the the new GTS Ultra cards or the Matrox cards and they have pretty good 3d performance for the games you listed. and visual quality is great, much better than my new GTS 2, although i've never owned a matrox card so i can't compare visual quality against it.
  3. Sounds like an upgrade or new computer system would do you good. A Duron or newer Celeron system would help with 2d video in any case. Sounds to me that the Matrox 450 is the better card for you. Especially with dual head where not only can you do your software developement but also watch a video at the same time in the background on the second monitor. Doesn't get much better with the Matrox in 2d, Radeon seems close but no cigar, 2d crown goes to Matrox. Radeon does video well and has many quality features for video (video crown), 3d is also pretty good also but in a solely 2d enviroment best bet is a Matrox. 2d performance has little to do with 3d performance overall to answer your original question.
  4. Most of people know about VooDoo 3x line as well, and lots of review websites are stating VooDoo's 2D excellence. I can see that on my monitors and well. Had an ATI, S3, VooDoo (have now), GF GTS2 (have now), Maxtor (have now) - VooDoo and Maxtor are the sharpest and fastest in 2D, but with VooDoo I can play most of my 3D needs as well as look at 2D with pleasure... sigh, sorry for 3dfx thogh.

    In yer case best bet will be a Radeon line. Excellent and fast 2D, motion, crisp image in apps, Almost GTS's performance in 3D.

    Just my $0.02... hehe

    K7 + KT7A + MX300 + VooDoo3000 = :smile:
    P3 + CUSL2-C + MX300 + Asus7700 = :smile:
  5. If you are seriously using a 120 mhz machine for anything beyond word processing then you are being counter productive. Don't worry about getting a 3D card. Get yourself a new Duron. It doesn't matter what videocard you put in that computer of yours, nothing will help you until you get a new processor.
  6. Thanx everyone for the feedback... what I failed to make clear is that I *AM* in the process of building a new PC -- I just got stuck on the video decision.
  7. My friends Voodoo 3000 whipped some butt in 2d compared to his Geforce II GTS he got latter. I really wished that 3dfx wasn't bought or split up by NVIDIA. Plus his Voodoo3000 was stable from the get go compared to his Geforce II GTS.
  8. Yep, thats what I've said. I have both now, so can say as a witness, VooDoo is better in 2D than anything I have seing, GTS is better in 3D, not bad in 2D as well, but not that crisp, just a generic display.

    K7 + KT7A + MX300 + VooDoo3000 = :smile:
    P3 + CUSL2-C + MX300 + Asus7700 = :smile:
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