I am certainly impressed with NVIDIA's quick response to my article and it makes me feel proud that my influence is strong enough to make things change so quickly. However, the above findings are a strong proof that a driver software can make good hardware look really bad if it wants. It makes me wonder in how many cases a good performing hardware product has been slowed down by software, so that it looked really bad compared to others. We should learn to be very critical about this issue.
'Irongate' Still Blows
I'd also like to point out that 'Irongate' is either much worse than we thought or that there's still something fishy with GeForce's NT-driver used on an AMD 750-platform. After all 'Irongate' was the only Athlon-chipset until very recently, and the SPECviewperf-scores show that Athlon running on this chipset is no real alternative for an OpenGL-workstation. Athlon and Irongate are now available for more than 5 months and GeForce is out for about three. In all that time Athlon looked a lot worse than it should if you ran SPECviewperf with a GeForce-based grapics-card. NVIDIA told me in the email containing the new drivers for KX133 that this new driver enables AGP4x on KX133. It cannot really be only that, because the SPECviewperf-scores under Windows98 with only AGP1x and only 100 MHz memory-bus are still higher than the initial NT-scores of Athlon with NVIDIA's rev. 3.68 drivers. This is a strong hint that more than only AGP4x has been enabled in the new driver. Whatever other features have been enabled in GeForce's new KX133-driver, they are still not enabled when using the AMD750-platform. There are only a few possible reasons I could think of. Either AMD750 runs so bad under NT that NVIDIA had to disable all those features (I consider this as rather unlikely), or NVIDIA didn't consider Athlon as a CPU that would be used in an OpenGL-platform, thus they didn't bother optimizing the NT-driver for AMD750 (in this case I blame AMD's product marketing for sleeping), or AMD didn't bother supporting NVIDIA properly for their development of drivers (something that I've heard from other companies before). I already asked NVIDIA to give me some kind of statement about that.
This article was addition number one for the KX133-review. I will run Athlon on an AMD750-platform with enabled 'super bypass' over the weekend and publish the results by Monday. I hope that by then every Athlon-fan will be satisfied.
Please don't forget to read the full article 'New Hope For Athlon - The VIA Apollo KX133 Chipset ' in case you haven't done that yet.
Follow-up by reading the article 'Irongate with Super Bypass vs. VIA Apollo KX133 '.