Professional Affair: OpenGL Graphics Cards Compete

Recommendations And Resume

Generally the Gloria II from Elsa has the best potential to win in this price category. However, we presently cannot recommend this Quadro graphics card. The main problem is the driver situation: The Elsa standard drivers are very stable but the performance is unsatisfactory. Using Nvidia Detonator drivers instead reveals the actual power of this card. Unfortunately there is no official support for the Nvidia drivers and another drawback are the instabilities we observed on the Athlon and the Pentium III platform. If you only work with Autocad or 3DStudioMax, you can buy this card right now. Elsa offers dedicated drivers for these programs that guarantee maximum performance and stability.

For a creator and typical CAD/CAM user the Fire GL 1 Pro is a very finished product. But do not expect that you can display complex simulations or animations. When trying the latter the performance would surely collapse, because the Diamond card neither has a geometry chip nor a powerful texturing unit.

The Oxygen GVX210 from 3DLabs offers you the choice of connecting a second monitor. This card is suited for almost all high-end applications on Pentium III platforms, it even comes with the option of purchasing stereo goggles. 3DLabs should fine-tune the drivers for the Athlon platforms, because only on the Intel OR840 motherboard the performance was up to par. The only stumbling block is the price. At 2000 Dollars the card is too expensive for the performance it delivers.

Like the Fire GL 1 Pro we recommend the quite affordable Oxygen GVX1 only to CAD/CAM users. Contrary to the Diamond card the GVX1 possesses a geometry chip. As long as the number of polygons is not too high, the card even handles simple simulations.

We do not really know what to make off the E & S Lightning 1200. It ends up in last place in almost every benchmark. Evans & Sutherland seems to be aware of the performance problem of this older card, and has lowered the price. This model only costs 399 Dollars. At a later point in time we should take a look at the Tornado 3000 that supposedly offers a much higher performance. With 1300 Dollars it is above our specified price point, however.

Uwe Scheffel