Visiontek's GeForce3

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The Visiontek GeForce3
Powered by NVIDIA and made in the USA

By Dave Altavilla
5/24/2001
 

"Board Stuffing", that's what the industry affectionately calls what the folks at Visiontek do as their core business unit.  Otherwise known as "Contract Manufacturing", in a nut shell, Visiontek will take a customer's "Bill of Materials" also known as a BOM (lots of new lingo here eh?), procure the raw parts (chips and circuit boards) and then assemble the product.  At that point they may even box it up and ship it to their customer's end customer.  This way, companies like Elsa or Hercules for example, can concentrate on designing and marketing next generation products and leave the manufacturing process to a company that is focused on that one aspect and most likely better equipped for it. 

As you can imagine, being a Contract Manufacturer or "Board Stuffer" is sometimes a tough racket, so to speak.  Margins can be razor thin and the environment cut throat with many competitors in this space.  It's no wonder Visiontek looked to expand into other areas that would help bolster profitability.  As a major supplier of manufacturing services for nVidia based graphics products to OEMs, Visiontek was already pumping reference design boards through their chip shooters at a blinding pace.  As a result, it was a natural for them to take ownership of their own product in this space and bring it to market.

The following is a HotHardware look at the Visiontek GeForce3 Graphics Accelerator.  Made here the USA, let's see what good ol' American ingenuity brings to the table.

Specifications and Features Of The Visiontek GeForce3
A straight up reference design

 

Architecture Features

GeForce3 FEATURES:
  • nFiniteFX engine for full programmability
  • Lightspeed Memory Architecture for unmatched performance
  • Surface engine for high-order surfaces and patches
  • Programmable Vertex Shader
  • Procedural deformations
  • Programmable matrix palette skinning
  • Keyframe animation interpolation
  • Morphing
  • Fog effects (Radial, Elevation, Non-linear)
  • Lens effects (Fish eye, Wide angle, Fresnel effects, Water refraction)
  • Programmable Pixel Shader
  • Phong-style lighting for per-pixel accuracy
  • Dot3 bump mapping
  • Environmental bump mapping (EMBM)
  • Procedural textures
  • Per-pixel reflections
  • HRAA?high-resolution antialiasing
  • Featuring Quincunx AA mode
  • Integrated hardware transform engine
  • Integrated hardware lighting engine
  • DirectX and S3TC texture compression
  • Dual cube environment mapping capability
  • Reflection maps
Continued:
  • Accurate, real-time environment reflections
  • Hardware accelerated real-time shadows
  • True, reflective bump mapping
  • Z-correct bump mapping
  • Phong-style lighting effects on bump maps with reflections
  • High-performance 2D rendering engine
  • Optimized for 32-, 24-, 16-, 15- and 8-bpp modes
  • True-color hardware cursor with alpha
  • Multi-buffering (double, triple or quad) for smooth animation and video playback
  • High-quality HDTV/DVD playback
  • High-definition video processor (HDVP) for full-screen, full-frame video playback of HDTV and DVD content
  • Independent hardware color controls for video overlay
  • Hardware color-space conversion (YUV 4:2:2 and 4:2:0)
  • Motion compensation
  • 5-tap horizontal by 3-tap vertical filtering
  • 8:1 up/down scaling
  • Per-pixel color keying
  • Multiple video windows supported for CSC and filtering
  • DVD sub-picture alpha-blended compositing

 

The box and contents for this board were a little bland.  Only the card, drivers and install guide were included.  Here's what our board looked like.

 

click for full view

 

   

 

As you can see, our board came equipped with a TVOut feature connector.  Most GeForce3 cards you'll see on the market will at least have this feature and/or possibly digital flat panel output as well.  The board is clean with all components neatly aligned in their respective sites and solder connections crisp.  Visiontek's quality manufacturing process is fairly obvious with this well built card.

 

As you can see in the above feature list, the GeForce3 has many new capabilities with its Programmable nFiniteFX Engine, Pixel and Vertex Shaders.  Let's have a look at what these news toys can bring to the 3D Gaming experience.

 

 

Drivers, Features, Screenshots and Demos

 
Tags:  GeForce, E3, VISION, force, visiontek, K

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