New Drivers: ATi FireGL X1 & Z1 with High Performance - Finally

Solidworks 2001 Plus (Application)

The SPEC benchmarks for Solidworks 2001 Plus use a complex model of a machine and a vehicle, among other things. In the case of the machine, the maximum number of vertices is 2.25 million.

Conclusion: NVIDIA Leaves No Room For A Breather

NVIDIA FX2000 - Editor's Choice for Best OpenGL Performance

The tests show that ATi has made significant strides with its drivers. This is particularly evident in Viewperf, where the FireGL X1 takes second place behind NVIDIA's QuadroFX 2000 in five out of six benchmarks. It's a different picture with the application benchmarks. Here, ATi has not succeeded in being consistent with the synthetic benchmarks. In any case, performance has been improved in this area compared to the previous tests. If ATi is able to keep the same pace at improving the drivers, then we estimate that the distance between it and NVIDIA could be reduced to a minimum within the next three to four weeks.

However, ATi has to step on it. NVIDIA has already launched its newest generation of OpenGL graphics cards on the market, namely, the QuadroFX 2000 (NV30GL). ATi has not yet completely switched over to the new generation, so you will only be able to find the R350 chip (alias) in the consumer segment. You'll have to wait a bit for the OpenGL variant, although it's been long overdue since NVIDIA raised the standards. Of course, the main revenues are to be made with mainstream cards. However, ATi also has to be able to react quickly in the OpenGL workstation area. In any case, the hardware (the 3D chip) is ready. Now it all depends on how quickly the driver programmers respond to the market situation. But that shouldn't be difficult: the differences between the R300 and the R350 chip are relatively few, so it shouldn't be necessary to develop completely new drivers. Instead, only minimal changes are called for. This means that we won't have to wait long at all for ATi.

Uwe Scheffel