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
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
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
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
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
In the above shot of the
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)
High Resolution Anti-Aliasing
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.
and some Benchmarks