final battle ground - Quake 3 Arena
Don't leave home
Quake 3's game engine is showing
its age for sure but we don't know a graphics card OEM that
doesn't optimize their drivers to run this game flat out as
fast as possible.
The song remains
the same here, except for the fact that the race is much
closer. The Radeon 8500 has admirable performance
versus the GeForce3 Ti500, which is now retailing at roughly
a $25 to $50 premium versus Radeon 8500s. Also, the
Radeon 7500 hangs tough with the GF2 Ti but can't compete
with the third generation technology cards. In
addition, looking at the price points here, the R7500 may
have a real problem taking off, with GeForce3 Ti200s
retailing for about the same price.
It's been a long
time since nVidia had a real competitor in the high end 3D
Graphics space. There have been others nipping at
their heels for the mid range and value segments but it
seems like ages since there was a real threat to their
flagship GPUs. It looks as if ATi is dangerously close
to nVidia's performance crown. The hardware design
brought forth here by ATi is completely impressive, from
core silicon technology to board design and quality.
Furthermore, TruForm has the potential to do things for
image quality much the same way anti-aliasing has, rendering
smoother more natural lines. However, there is and it
seems, always has been, a real hurdle for ATi to overcome
once again, that being their software.
Good drivers are
as important to a graphics card as the bleeding edge
processor technology that powers it. We've seen
glimmers of excellence with the Radeon 8500 and 7500 product
lines, only to be soiled by a non functional feature like
SmoothVision or less than capable performance, as we saw in
the OpenGL testing here. As it stands now, ATi's next
generation product is fighting with one hand tide behind its
back. They need to react quickly with better drivers,
while the small window of opportunity is open for them.
During a recent conference call with ATi the marketing team
assured us that ATi is committed to updating driver releases
every three weeks for WHQL certified versions and every two
weeks for non-WHQL certified performance drivers. We
have our hopes set high that they will be able to deliver
here. Until then, we are going to hold off on our Heat
Meter rating. We'll come back and update this section
as the weeks roll on and as we get further developments.
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