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

 
Our Test System
An i815 with a mid range processor

LiteOn Mid Tower ATX Case w/ 300W PS, Pentium III 866EB,  Abit SE6 i815 Motherboard and nVIDIA GeForce2 GTS Ultra 64MB AGP Card, 128MB of PC133 True CAS2 SDRAM from Corsair (thanks Outside Loop), IBM 15Gig 7200 RPM ATA100 Hard Drive (thanks again Outside Loop), Kenwood 72X CDROM,
Win 98SE, DirectX 7.0a, nVidia reference drivers version 6.16

Overclocking The GeForce2 Ultra
Sure it is fast but nothing is ever fast enough

We'll let the pictures do the talking here.....

The card we received from nVIDIA was able to overclock with full stability, to an amazing 300MHz. core and 500MHz. memory clock.  We feel you all should know this by now but you may or may not be able to achieve this kind of speed with a retail version board.  However, this does show promise for the OEM products that are coming down the pike very soon.

Who would have thought, 500MHz capable DDR memory would be available this year.... simply amazing.

Benchmarks / Comparisons
Is this illegal??
 

OpenGL Benchmarks:

One more last round of Quake 3 numbers at our new clock speeds, should do the trick, right? :)

Happiness is a warm gun and Quake 3 running at 67 fps in 1600X1200X32 mode.  There ought to be a law against this.

Inching ever more closely to that magical 60 fps, in 1024X768X32, FSAA moves even more fluidly at about 38 fps.  It won't be long before we have good high res. FSAA running at the big 6-0.

Finally, you may be wondering what a higher end processor can do with this new found 3D speed.  Well, you came to the right place.

This is what we call the "Boiler Maker Rig" here at the lab.  A 1GHz. processor running with the GeForce2 Ultra at 300/500.  These scores were taken in High Quality mode, just in case you mistook them for "Fastest" scores.  Fastest..... bah!   Who needs it?  Interesting to note however, is that the GF2 Ultra does hit its fill rate at 1600X1200X32 with a .7 fps better score than the test on the P3-866.  Regardless, we didn't even think about complaining.

Detonator 3 Drivers On The "Old" GeForce2:
 

Finally, let's have a look at what the Detonator 3 Drivers did for performance on a non-ultra 32MB board.

32 Bit Color Time Demo

If you remember from a few slides back, our 64MB GeForce2 card with the old 5.32 drivers, turned out about 83 fps at 1024X768X32.  Now you're looking a a 32MB card doing it at 96 fps.  There are going to be a lot of happy GeForce2 customers out there, for sure.

Optimization, that was the word of the day for nVIDIA when they thought about their "Summer Speed-Up" product and gave birth to the GeForce2 Ultra.  Not only was the hardware optimized but the software was trimmed down to fighting weight as well.  The basic functionality of the GeForce2 Ultra is the same, as well as the drivers, with the exception of the GeForce2 MX's Twin View and Digital Vibrance Control (we may look at that in another segment).  However, everything has been buffed out and turned up a notch such that it almost feels like a totally new product.  We don't often get a product in the door here that leaves us slack-jaw and amazed but the GeForce2 GTS Ultra with its new Detonator 3 Drivers, had us caught with that "Deer in the headlights" look.  We were genuinely impressed.  For now, it is the fastest 3D Gaming card on the market, hands down.

Now for the string... There is always a string attached, isn't there?  The GeForce2 GTS Ultra will most likely retail for $499 in its various OEM incarnations.  For us, that puts this card square in the sights of the soon to be released 3dfx Voodoo5 6000.  The GeForce2 has come a long way since its initial release as did its FSAA quality, general functionality, and speed.  For many folks, graphics cards in this price range will seem very impractical.  Then again, for many, practicality doesn't enter the equation.  At the end of the day one thing seems clear, 3D Graphics is on a roll in a big way right now, thanks to companies like nVIDIA who drive innovation and performance to new levels.  The only problem is that we are often left with too many choices in this arena.  What a great problem to have.

We are giving the nVIDIA GeForce2 GTS Ultra a HotHardware Heat Meter Rating of....

 

Get in on it at the HotHardware Conference Room!

 

  To HotHardware!

 

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