Higher Order Surface
I don't know what to think about this feature. In all honesty, I don't really think much of it, as you probably already noticed. The idea behind it is excellent, but I doubt that the implementation is good enough right now. I also wonder about its performance.
Crossbar Memory Controller
What can I say? I love it! Finally somebody made sense and put a high-end memory interface into a PC. Intel, Rambus, VIA and Co. should take this as a lesson. If they won't wake up soon NVIDIA will have the chance to enter the core-logic market big time. Big Kudos to NVIDIA for this implementation! That's what I want to see!
Z Occlusion Culling
I remember how much I welcomed ATi's Hyper-Z and I almost feel a bit unfair towards NVIDIA, that I can't' get all exited up about their solution. It was certainly the wisest thing to implement a technology that can live up to ATi's Hyper-Z, but it wasn't the first and thus my enthusiasm is limited. Let me still say "Well done NVIDIA, you did the right thing!"
It is too bad that the current drivers for GeForce3 are still too flaky to use them for a good benchmark session. This doesn't mean that GeForce3 is crashing, but there are a few applications where it shows some strange artifacts right now, which is reason enough to wait for flawless drivers instead of pushing out some semi-meaningless benchmark numbers. What I have tested ran FAST. The already mentioned Quincunx anti-aliasing performs very well, Quake 3 reaches excellent numbers, especially at high resolutions and true color. This is of course no surprise if you take the crossbar memory controller into consideration. After all it was always the memory bandwidth that held the GeForce chips back. Of course I was unable to test the vertex shader performance, since there isn't any software available that would let me. Results of 3DMark if 2000 or the upcoming 2001 have never had much of a meaning to me and I doubt if this will change once it can benchmark the vertex shader. After all, what would you compare those results to?
GeForce3 is loaded with high-tech features that will excite every techie on the planet. However, most features won't be very beneficial as long as there isn't any software that takes advantage of them. We know how long it took until integrated T&L became worthwhile, so I don't expect any miracles with software titles that support the vertex or pixel shader as well. The two features that make GeForce3 worth a look right now are the impressive high-resolution anti-aliasing and the high-tech crossbar memory controller. Other than that GeForce3 could maybe be seen as an excellent platform for Xbox developers.