GeForce3 Ti 500 and nVidia's Fall Lineup...New Hardware & Software

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The GeForce3 Ti 500 and nVidia's Fall Lineup...New Hardware & Software
Enter the Detonator XPs and Titanium

By - Marco Chiappetta
Edited By:  Dave Altavilla
October 1, 2001
   

NVIDIA is at it again. Just when we were all getting used to the idea of a new chipset standard from the 3D graphics giant, we're thrown the proverbial curve ball.  The timing couldn't be any better.  ATi, NVIDIA's main competitor, is about to ship their next generation product and what better way to steal ATi's thunder, than to release a new product of their own?  Better yet, how about a whole new line of products?

Just about this time in 2000, NVIDIA not only unveiled the GeForce 2 Ultra but also a new set of drivers that promised to increase performance for all NVIDIA 3D chipsets.  Well, a little over a year later we find ourselves in the same situation.  Not only does NVIDIA have new hardware on the horizon but just a few weeks ago, NVIDIA's "Detonator XP" drivers were released, with that same promise of increased performance.  These new drivers coupled with the "new" hardware comprise the Titanium (Ti) line of products.


CLICK ANY IMAGE FOR AN ENLARGED VIEW

The Titanium line consists of three new products, the GeForce 2 Ti (left), the GeForce 3 Ti 200 (middle) and the flagship GeForce 3 Ti 500 (right).  Below we have some shots of the backs of the GeForce 2 Ti and GeForce 3 Ti 500 respectively.

               

The GeForce 2 Ti is NVIDIA's new "mainstream" product, clocked at 250MHz. Core / 400MHz. (200MHz. DDR) memory and priced in line with current GeForce 2 Pro cards (approximately $150).  The GeForce 3 Ti 200 should offer performance similar to current GeForce 3s, at about half the price. GeForce 3 Ti 200s should be priced in the $200 range. We don't actually have a card to verify this but it should ship with a core clockspeed of 175MHz. and a 400MHz. (200MHz. DDR) memory subsystem.  For now, let's get a little more detailed with the GeForce 3 Ti 500's (MSRP $350) specifications.

Specifications and Features of the GeForce 3 Ti 500
New hardware AND new software

         

  • Core (GPU) Clock Frequency - 240MHz.
  • DDR Memory Frequency - 500MHz. (250MHz. DDR)
  • Manufactured with an Enhanced .15 TSMC process
  • 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) up to 16 AA samples per clock
  • Integrated hardware transform engine
  • Integrated hardware lighting engine
  • DirectX and S3TC texture compression
  • Reflection maps
  • Dual cube environment mapping capability
  • 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

For more detailed explanations of the GeForce 3's features, take a look at one of our earlier reviews.  If you take a close look at the cards themselves, you won't notice much of a difference between the Titanium (Ti) line and a standard GeForce 2 Pro or GeForce 3.

         

           

Everything from cooling to the board layout is similar to current GeForce 2s and 3's.  In fact, with the exception of a small jumper on the back of our GeForce 3 Ti 500 (visible in the shot at the top of the page), there was virtually no physical differences between it and a Visiontek GeForce 3.

      

While speaking on a conference call with Geoff Ballew, Product Line Manager for NVIDIA and Brian Burke Senior PR Manager, we were informed that due to refinements to the manufacturing process, they were able to achieve higher clock speeds with this new GeForce3 core (240MHz.), while generating less heat.  The memory installed on the Ti 500 is clocked at 500MHz. (250MHz. DDR).  We weren't told the speed bin rating of the DRAM but we assume they are just "hand picked" 3.8ns parts, similar to what you'd find on current GeForce 3s, guaranteed to run at this high clock speed.

The Drivers and Image Quality 

 

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