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Rage Fury MAXX, Continued

Preview of the Double Whopper - ATI's Rage Fury MAXX
By
MPEG2-Decoding/Encoding
ATI Rage128 Pro AFR NVIDIA GeForce256
motion-compensation and iDCT/DCT hardware implemented motion-compensation support unclear, no iDCT/DCT

For people who would like to watch DVDs on their computer, ATI has definitely the better solution. The same is valid for people who like to encode MPEG2-movies on their system, since ATI's DCT is the only valid solution today that lets you do this with a mainstream graphics chip in an acceptable fashion.

Looking at all those topics shows that GeForce is more future proof than Fury MAXX. However, it really depends on how long it will take until T&L-titles will become available. Fury MAXX has a pretty good standing for the current crop of games and it offers a significantly better ability to display DVD-movies. It will take GeForce with DDR-memory to really beat Fury MAXX, but we neither know when this version will become available nor what price tag it will carry. The importance of the 'lag'-issue will depend on you. Die-hard gamers should definitely consider it.

ATI Rage Fury MAXX Drivers

The ATI driver has improved quite a bit since we last saw them in our various tests. The OpenGL driver seems to be solid while the D3D (especially DX7) driver still seems to require some work. Applications either ran fine without any visual issues or the programs outright failed, something that's currently acceptable considering the beta-stage of the drivers. The only game that worked and showed visual issues was Descent 3 in DirectX. We saw heavy amounts of frames dropping while the demo was running. It appears the driver had issues keeping the two chips in sync. I hope to see this disappear once we get our hands on a final rev of the driver. All in all, the D3D driver is far from final but OpenGL appears to coming along very well.

The ATI Rage 128 drivers are used for the Rage Fury MAXX and Rage Fury Pro. You can look at the drivers here .

The Benchmark Setup

We ran the Fury MAXX under the same system-setup that we used for the previous 3D-card evaluations, so that the scores could be compared with the other cards we've already tested. A Pentium III 550 may not be the fastest CPU currently available, but its performance should lie where the majority of gaming systems is at right now. We should also not forget that the currently small T&L-impact coming into account with Quake3 is camouflaged when using a very fast CPU. It's logical that the impact of GeForce's internal T&L-engine only shows in games that support it properly. Games that only take little advantage of GeForce's T&L will look good on Fury MAXX as long as the CPU is fast enough. We were very disappointed to see that Fury MAXX completely failed to run Dagoth Moor Zoological Gardens, the only T&L-title that can be used for testing right now.

I'd also like to mention that ATI did not give us enough time to do some really major testing with Fury MAXX. While the 5 hour-visit of a manufacturer bringing his new product may enable a publication to present an early review, the resulting hectic test-session is not the right base for an actual thorough in-depth review. We apologize for that.

Hardware Information
CPU PIII 550
Motherboard (BIOS rev.) ABIT BX6 2.0 (BIOS date 7/13/99)
Memory 128 MB Viking PC100 CAS2
Network Netgear FA310TX
Driver Information
ATI Rage Fury MAXX/PRO BETA/6.30CDH34
NVIDIA GeForce 256 4.12.01.0353
NVIDIA TNT2 Series 4.11.01.0353
Voodoo3 Series 4.11.01.2103.03.0202
Matrox G400 Series 4.11.01.1300 (5.30.007)
Environment Settings
OS Version Windows 98 SE 4.10.2222 A
DirectX Version 7.0
Quake 3 Arena V1.08
command line = +set cd_nocd 1 +set s_initsound 0
Shogo V2.14
Advanced Settings = disable sound, disable music, disable movies, disable joysticks,
enable optimized surfaces, enable triple buffering, enable single-pass multi-texturing
High Detail Settings = enabled
Fortress Demo
Expendable Demo Version
Setup = use Triple Buffering
Audio = disable sound
Descent III Retail version
Settings = -nosound -nomusic -nonetwork -timetest
DMZG Demo Version
Command line = -bench -tl on
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