to say, there sure has been a lot of hype and fan-fare on the net
these days with respect to NVidia's next generation technology in 3D
Graphics, The GeForce256 chip. High hopes have been built up on new
levels of performance with this new technology. In addition new
features are being touted as ground breaking enhancements in speed
and image quality. We were pleased whenLeadtek
asked us to be one of the first review sites on the net to put their
new GeForce256 based card through its paces. Let's take a look at Leadtek's
WinFast GeForce256 and see what all the fuss is about!
image for a larger view
the WinFast GeForce doesn't vary much from Leadtek's
prior design with the WinFast
S320II TNT2 card.
However there are a few obvious changes of note. The memory on this
card is 5ns. SDRAM from ESMT. Also, it goes without saying that this
board is based on the all new NVidia GeForce256 GPU (Graphics
Processing Unit). The chip itself is clocked to 120MHz. Core and the
memory subsystem is clocked to 166MHz. However, let's not get caught
up in the MHz. game here folks. The new GeForce256 chip from NVidia
is capable of processing four 32 bit pixels in a single clock cycle.
Obviously that means you get more processing power per clock cycle
and thus GPU clock cycles exponentially are used more efficiently.
Here are rest of the features of the WinFast GeForce256.
GeForce 256 GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)
high-speed SDRAM on board (5ns or faster)
up to 2048x1536 32-bit resolution
AGP 4X with
Fast Write (30% faster transfer speed)
Windows 9x, Windows NT4.0, Windows 2000 driver support
DirecX7.0 for Windows 9x/2000, OpenGL? ICD for Windows
optimized for Pentium III SSE? and AMD 3D NOW?
optional DVI connector for digital flat panel
GeForce 256, 256-bit GPU
Design for complete 3D pipeline
Pixel/sec Fill rate
RAMDAC support display resolution up to 2048x1536
Direct3D acceleration with complete hardware support for DirectX
Supporter Transform and Lighting
1.2 ICD driver support.
32 bits true
color texture mapping support.
Digital Flat Panel interface with scaling and filtering for flat
panels up to 1600x1200
support up to 800x600 resolution
Full PC99 and
HDTV-ready motion compensation for MPEG-2 decoding
sub-picture alpha blended composting
4:2:2 and 4:2:0 color space conversion support
and Y filtering
8:1 up and
down scaling on video overlay
first 5-tap horizontal by 3-tap vertical video filtering
planar YUV12 (4:2:0) to /from packed (4:2:2) conversion for
software MPEG acceleration
acceleration for DirectShow?, MPEG-2 and MPEG-1
GeForce chip provides serious enhancements over the TNT2. This
version of the WinFast card is the SDR (single data rate) SDRAM
version and has a Fill Rate of 480 Million Pixels/sec. DDR SDRAM
(double data rate SDRAM) versions will have even better figures.
Also, the addition of hardware supported Transform and Lighting
processing adds additional headroom for the card since it will off
load the host processor in this area. There aren't many games out
yet which support hardware transform and lighting processing, so
we'll have to wait and see how much of a benefit this will be. Here
link to NVidia's list of games scheduled to support Hardware
This technology should allow very significant increases in polygon
count and also add capability in various methods of lighting,
accenting and enhancing the images with greater flexibility. Cube
Environment Mapping is yet another way to add reflections and other
environmental impact on an object.