Full Review NVIDIA's new GeForce256 'GPU'

The Benchmark Results - Descent III 1024x768

Cranking up the resolution to a reasonable 1024x768 shows a different picture, GeForce shows off its fill rate-muscles and scores well ahead of the competition.

We witness again a well performing GeForce, a failing G400 and Voodoo3 as well as the bad OpenGL-driver of the Rage Fury Pro.

Now Voodoo3 and its Glide can't lose the competing GeForce anymore, but I would have expected GeForce to score better. Is this one of the last proves for the advantage of Glide in some situations ...? It seems quite obvious.

The Facts Behind 3D-Games And A Possible Usage Of Geforce256's Integrated T&L-Engine
The term CPU-scaling in combination with NVIDIA's new GeForce256 GPU is becoming more and more an object of discussions and speculations. NVIDIA's comments to this topic add to the confusion, claiming that GeForce's 3D-performance is rather independent of the CPU-power, regardless if a K6, a Celeron, a Pentium III or a Athlon is being used. Fact is that games will ALWAYS be depending on CPU-performance, especially in case of complex or multiplayer games, where the CPU has a lot more to do than computing transform and lighting. The bandwidth of the system buses, like memory bandwidth, PCI-bandwidth and AGP-bandwidth are another factor that impacts GeForce just as much as any other 3D-chip without integrated T&L. Nevertheless, GeForce256 can reduce CPU-scaling. Games with complex graphics and rather simple AI and physics benefit greatly from GeForce's T&L-engine and even the other games should at least show a difference in CPU-scaling. Having said that, we should be aware that games have to fulfill some requirements to make usage of an integrated T&L.
  1. The game must be programmed for an API that supports integrated T&L-engines, like DirectX 7 or OpenGL.
  2. Current DX6-games can only take real advantage of GeForce with a DX7-patch.
  3. The game shouldn't have an engine too complex to be the performance-bottleneck in the first place.
  4. The rendering-engine of the 3D-chip should be able to draw the frames supplied by its integrated T&L-engine fast enough.
I case of our testing only TreeMark, Dagoth Moor Zoological Gardens and in some way Quake3 fulfill the requirements. The first two show a significant difference in CPU-scaling over chips without integrated T&L. Quake3 will show more of a difference once it was changed to depend more on the OpenGL transform and lighting procedures than on its own. In case of the other games we'll have to wait until the developers release DX7-patches.
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