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

We're not sure what is really NVIDIA's strong suit, designing and bringing to market great chipsets or the software that drives them.  Historically, NVIDIA's driver implementation has been immaculate.  Stability and compatibility have always been a fundamental element for the Detonator series of drivers.  In addition, regular performance enhancements with follow on releases, has been a strong selling point for NVIDIA product in the channels.  Just a couple of weeks ago, end users were treated to a significant performance boost with the release of the Detonator XP driver set. 

There are few companies that have entered the PC Graphics fray, that can claim the kind of robust software and driver suite that is delivered with product from NVIDIA.  For this review, we've tested the GeForce3 Titanium series of product, with version 21.85 of the Detonator XP driver set. Here's a look at what it has to offer.

Installation and the drivers of the "new" GeForce Cards
Drivers - The Key to a great piece of hardware









The drivers have a good deal of functionality and enable the user to control many aspects of the GeForce3.  In addition to the controls you see here, there are also adjustments for "Video Overlay" with respect to brightness, contrast, hue and saturation.  This is a great tool for folks watching TV Tuners, DVD or streaming video in a window on the desktop.  Also, Multi-Monitor support, with Twin View and the "Desk Top Manager" feature, is maturing nicely for NVIDIA.

The are many enhancements incorporated into the Detonator XP driver set, including a custom DirectX 8.1 pipeline and complete OpenGL 1.3 ICD.  The proprietary NVIDIA "Lightspeed" memory architecture algorithms as well as Vertex programs have also been optimized.  The Detonator XP drivers accelerate the new Windows XP features in hardware. Finally, a new technology dubbed "XPress Link" has also been incorporated, that allows Windows XP to communicate directly with the graphics subsystem hardware.

In the above shot of the Overclocking tab, you'll note that our GeForce3 Ti 500 came set to a 240MHz. Core Clock speed and 500MHz (250MHz. DDR) Memory Clock.  This is a 20% boost in GPU speed and approximately 10% boost in memory interface.  This should prove useful during times of heavy rendering and processing of scenes, for example with high resolution  HRAA (High Resolution Anti-Aliasing) enabled.

High Resolution Anti-Aliasing


2x AA



We can remember the days when 3dfx and NVIDIA were battling it out with respect to image quality and FSAA.  Back in the day, 3dfx sure did seem to have an edge on NVIDIA's method of getting out the jaggies.  Things have come a long way since then.  NVIDIA has simplified the choice of FSAA settings down to three, 2X, Quincunx and 4X mode.  Here you can see the quality of each setting.  At 1024X768 resolution, all settings were totally "playable" and smooth.  To us, there is nothing like clean and simple 4X FSAA.  It does take a toll on frame rate somewhat but as the GeForce3 gets more powerful with clock speeds and driver enhancements, 4X mode is beginning to feel like our default setting.  Quincunx mode cleans up the edges about as well as 4X mode but also blurs the textures ever so slightly.  No, for us it's 4X HRAA all the way.

Testing Methods and some Benchmarks




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