Two very real game
engines, that utilize the full potential of the
GeForce3, have recently been developed. Dronez,
is an OpenGL benchmark that utilizes the Pixel
Shader, vertex programs and heavy duty T&L along
with some fancy skinning.
Aquanox is a DirectX
8 game that is being developed by
Massive Development (no small pun there either).
It also, utilizes Vertex and Pixel Shaders.
Let's fire them up and
check the numbers.
Where old technology falls
Now that is quite and
eye chart, eh? Here we see the GeForce3 in the
blue color bars and GeForce2 Ultra in yellow.
In the "Gen HQ" setting, we are not exercising the
nFiniteFX engine of the GeForce3 but rather all
settings are configured for a "Generic" graphics
accelerator. In "GF2 Bump" mode, we are not
using Vertex or Pixel Shaders or any part of the
nFiniteFX engine of the GeForce3 but rather the game
is optimized for max performance on a GeForce2.
Finally, the "GeForce3 Bump" setting utilizes the
nFiniteFX engine of the GeForce3 and its
Vertex/Pixel Shaders, that are supported in the GPU
itself. This setting, in the case of the
GeForce2 Ultra, forces the system to do all of these
new features in software on the host CPU.
You can see where
things are headed here. For next generation 3D
gaming, the Visiontek GeForce3 really shows its
muscle. Here are a couple of screenshots
from this game to give you an idea of the visuals a
GeForce3 brings to the table. These were all
taken in GeForce3 Bump mode.
Click images for full
view of Dronez screenshots
the Aquanox shots early in this article, now let's
look at the numbers. "Aquamark" is a stress
test of sorts, based on the Aquanox game engine.
It is designed to really crunch on the graphics
first thing that comes to mind here is that even the
GeForce3 can't break 50 fps. There is more to
this picture than meets the eye however. At
800X600, the GF3 is 2X the performance of the
GeForce2 Ultra. Also, it is pretty obvious
that the GeForce2 Ultra is basically capped at
around 20 fps. Again, we would have liked to
see this benchmark/game engine post snappier numbers
on the GeForce3 but we need to emphasize that this
is a "stress test" benchmark.
Here is a snap from the
Aquamark read me that says it all...
"AquaMark is a stress test
for DX8 drivers and hardware. The underlying krass-
Engine floods any(!) graphics card that is currently
available, with data. We use AquaMark mainly as a
stability test. We work closely together with all
major gfx card vendors in order to fix problems
within our technology and within their
drivers. The krass-Engine is the first engine
available that fully exploits DX8
Vertex Shaders and Pixel Shaders. However the engine
does not rely on Pixel Shaders which can be
emulated at some extend through the automatic usage
of the DX7 Texture Stage pipeline. So, you will NOT
need a P4/1.5GHz and a GeForce3 to play AquaNox, our
recommendation for AquaNox is a PIII/Atholon 500MHz
and a GeForce2."
boys and girls, the actual game itself will run
significantly faster than the scores you see here in
our tests. All told, it's easy to see from our
benchmark run, how the Visiontek GeForce3's
nFiniteFX engine powers the DX8 3D action.
Again, the folks at Massive talk about "emulation"
of Pixel Shaders versus doing it in hardware like
the GeForce3. When these new titles come to
market, they may run with all the eye candy on a
GeForce2 but the GeForce3 cards will really fly, the
way the game is meant to.
done our best to cover all aspects of this new
GeForce3 based card from
Visiontek. For a good general comparison
of GeForce3 technology, be sure to check out
BigWop's review of the
Gigabyte GV-GF3000 as well. We're very
much impressed by the somewhat untapped power of the
nVidia GeForce3 chipset and this Visiontek card is
quality piece of hardware.
addition, kudos to the folks at
Visiontek for offering one of the lowest cost
GeForce3 cards on the market. You can find one
of these currently on
Pricewatch for $343. For those of you
looking to upgrade from a GeForce2 Ultra, it may
make sense to wait for the prices to come down a
notch more, before taking the GeForce3 plunge.
However, if you are taking two or three upgrade
steps and want a card that will power next
generation 3D Gaming to its fullest, you simply
can't do better than a GeForce3 card.
Visiontek GeForce3 scores a Heat Meter Rating of....
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