Since 3D accelerators started to have a decent performance, more and more wonderful 3D benchmarks were turning up everywhere and Ziff Davis' 3D Winbench 98 claims the crown in the 3D performance test tools. However, it only took a few weeks for 3D Winbench 98 to be released and all graphic card manufacturers come up with 'new' drivers, some of them even admitting that these new drivers are 'for a better performance in 3D Winbench 98'. Well, now let's get back to the idea of 3D accelerators guys! If I remember correctly, these nifty graphic cards were designed for people that like to play 3D games at good speed and decent quality. Not for office applications, no it doesn't make Excel look better, not for photo editing, 'my dog still looks 2 dimensional on this photo ', not for video either and most certainly not for 3D Winbench 98!!! So what shall we stupid little 3D gamers think about a statement that tells us that a new driver is better for 3D Winbench 98??? Will this improve our gaming experience ....? Well, I dare to at least doubt that.
Since I am testing 3D accelerator cards I'm busy looking around for reliable benchmarks. How shall we know if a graphic card will please us when we are playing our favorite games? What I found out is that 3D Winbench, although a quite helpful tool, doesn't help us really much estimating the 3D gaming pleasure of a graphic card. Some cards score just wonderful in this benchmark, but when it comes down to gaming they pretty much s...!
Although I haven't found the final solution to this problem (and I guess the perfect solution would be my very own 3D benchmark ... if I was up to doing that) I think it's currently and probably also for the future quite feasible to use the one 3D game and its successor, which is as important in the computer gaming world as Windows in the operating systems world, with the only difference that it achieved that position with much more desirable methods. John Carmack and his crew are nowadays as influential as Andy Grove and Bill Gates and I'll hope that in the next Quake championship John won't only give his pathetic Ferrari, but maybe his Lear Jet or maybe even cruise ship as first price. In this case I'll train like crazy myself.
Hundreds of readers have requested it and now I've got it for you, the ultimate GLQuake / Quake II (GL) benchmark comparison of the latest 3D accelerators.
A Little Note About The Quake II Test
I don't think there's any need telling you how to get and run GLQuake, but regarding the recently released Quake II Test program some little things may still need some clarification. You can get Quake II Test all over the web and the initial installation is pretty simple, but as long as you don't want to get the error message 'UDP error socket: socket' (or something similar) you'll need to install an IPX/SPX and TCP/IP network driver in Windows 95. I guess you'll have TCP/IP, because otherwise you couldn't read this page, and most likely you'll have 'Dial-Up Network' installed. In case IPX/SPX isn't installed yet, simply add this protocol via the network setup and you can run Quake II Test. The benchmark within Quake II Test is the same as in the first release of Quake, no 'timedemo', but still 'timerefresh', where you'll get a 360 degree view of the area around your character, where ever you are standing in this moment. I ran the benchmark by starting a new game in 'easy' level (no bad guys around), not moving the character, pressing the '`'-key (top left corner, under ESC) to get the control panel down, typing 'timerefresh' and then reading the number it tells me.
I ran the Quake II Test only under a GL engine, not under software emulation. This included the '3Dfx OpenGL', 'PowerVR OpenGL', 'Permedia 2 OpenGL' (default OpenGL), 'RIVA 128 OpenGL', 'Verite 2100 Mini GL'. Pretty much the same is valid for GLQuake, only that you can't choose it as easily there. Unfortunately there isn't any OpenGL engine ready for ATI's Rage Pro cards (XPERT@..), so that these cards are currently pretty useless for GLQuake or Quake II Test, unless you want to play the ugly software engine version.
In GLQuake I ran the well known Timedemo 2 by typing 'Timedemo demo2' on the control panel. I used Quake version 1.09, GLQuake version 0.96.