nVIDIA GeForce2 GTS Ultra and Detonator 3 Drivers!

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The nVIDIA GeForce2 GTS Ultra and Detonator 3 Drivers
nVIDIA's Technology War Machine Rolls On

By Dave "Davo" Altavilla
8/14/00

 

You've got to hand it to nVIDIA.  They crank out new technology from a hardware and software standpoint, at a pace that has the rest of the competitive field cringing.  If nVIDIA was like a weapon, in this War of 3D Graphics, they would be an Abrams Tank with a Gatlin Gun strapped on top, clearing a path of destruction as they relentlessly rolled onward.  Perhaps that is a little over the top but it seems as if there is no end to their arsenal of next generation 3D Graphics product.  At the very least they seem to execute new product releases almost flawlessly.

Not more than a quarter ago, the industry was turned on to the GeForce2 GTS.  Shortly there after in early July, nVIDIA dealt their card in the "Business/Value Graphics" game with the GeForce2 MX and its "bang for the buck quotient" is unmatched.  Finally, there have been various flavors of the Quadro "professionally enhanced" versions of these chips rolling out with each new platform introduction and they have the folks at 3D Labs and other high end graphics companies nervous, in a big way.  It is as if nVIDIA can step into any graphics arena they want to and in many cases, win.

Today, out of no where comes an unexpected "summer speed-up" from nVIDIA.  We had heard that the NV20 is due out in the fall time frame but we were blind sided by this one, the nVIDIA GeForce2 GTS Ultra and it is here, now.

Specifications and Features of the GeForce2 GTS Ultra and Det 3 Drivers
Cranking up the hardware AND the software

 

  • 250MHz. Core Clock Speed
  • 460MHz DDR Memory Clock Speed
  • 1,000,000,000 pixels per second GPU
  • 2,000,000,000 texels per second GPU
  • 2X Original GeForce GTS performance
  • Custom Heat Sinks / Spreaders on memory for better thermal characteristics
  • Digital Flat Panel and TV Output
  • Standard GeForce2 GTS Features:
    • Integrated Transforms and Lighting
    • Per pixel shading and dual texturing
    • Full Scene hardware anti-aliasing, multi-texturing, procedural texturing
    • Environmental mapping, bump mapping, shadow stenciling
    • Bilinear, Trilinear and 8-tap anisotropic texture filtering
    • Unified Driver for entire product line support
  • New Detonator 3 Driver Performance Enhancements:
    • Enhanced for the full range of Intel chipsets, including the i815, i820 and i840
    • Takes advantage of advanced CPU instruction sets, such as AMD?s 3DNOW! and Intel?sSSE and SSE2
    • Highly efficient blending modes implemented in both Direct3D and OpenGL
    • Reduced OpenGL driver call overhead over previous driver revisions
    • Improved OpenGL asynchronous command processing
    • Advanced vertex buffer support in Direct3D
    • Advanced vertex array support in OpenGL
    • Improved Direct3D texture management
    • "DVC" - Digital Vibrance Control - GeForce2 MX and Quadro2 MXR Only
    • "Twin View" - Multi-Monitor Support For Dual Independent Displays - GeForce2 MX and Quadro2 MXR Only
    • Up to 50% performance increase for all products from TNT2 through GeForce2 Ultra


As you can see here, this is a bit of a 1-2 punch from nVIDIA.  First, the obvious ramp up in core clock speed and the huge ramp up in memory interface speed, should really get things moving.  The Achilles Heel nVIDIA always had, as was widely published, was memory bandwidth.  The memory bandwidth issue is almost a non-issue now.

What is more surprising here is the driver optimization that nVIDIA has seemingly pulled out of their collective hats.  Not only does this driver enhance the current GeForce2 architecture but GeForce1 and TNT2 owners are supposedly going to get a big shot in the arm in terms of a performance increase.  This says a lot for nVIDIA's driver team.  Most High Tech OEMs have a much harder time with the software side of things than the hardware.  As a result, Software Engineers usually out number Hardware Engineers 2 to 1.  It seems as if nVIDIA has been making the investments in all the right places.  The enhancements like the reduction in OpenGL driver call overhead, can only be gained by grinding things out in the lab.  We'll take a look at the fruits of that labor in the following pages.

Drivers, Settings, and FSAA 


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