GeForce 3 Details, Benchmarks
11:19 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
As the actual shipping date for NVIDIA's "next big chip" approaches, more PC sites are producing detailed articles on the capabilities and features of this video processing revolution. Laden with technical gibberish and enough buzzwords to stuff a 4X AGP bus, the feature list of the GeForce3 chipset is extensive. And as you might have heard, this chipset will appear on the Mac platform simultaneously with the PC release, a first for both Apple and NVIDIA.
Although this article is written from a strictly PC perspective, CGOnline's look at the GeForce 3 is still a heady read for those who want a peek "under the hood" at this chipset before it ships. While the benchmarks in the article are almost useless to Mac gamers -- they compare graphics cards that don't run on the Mac using games with no Mac versions -- they do give an idea of the relative areas of improvement that the GeForce3 offers over the previous model. And most importantly, the preview attempts to answer that most gripping question: "What the hell is a quincunx?" Here is a sample:
The GeForce3 is a total monster of a chip. It weighs in with 57 million transistors made with a very advanced .15-micron manufacturing process—that's about 36% more complex than a Pentium 4. It'll handle 800 billion operations per second. Perhaps because it's such an enormously complex chip, it runs at only 200 MHz while the older GeForce2 Ultra runs at 250 MHz. Memory on most GeForce3 cards is 64 MB of 230 MHz DDR RAM (effectively 460 MHz), identical to most GeForce2 Ultra cards. Also like the GeForce2, it has four pixel pipelines with two texture units each. With a slower clock speed, identical RAM speed, and identical pixel pipelines and texture units, it should be slower than the Ultra, right? Not necessarily. NVIDIA has incorporated several new features to more efficiently use available resources.The latest GeForce3 news for the Mac was both good and bad; the price was lowered by $100, but the actual availability of the cards themselves is extremely limited and initial orders may be pushed back to late May. We won't know until then if the superior performance and quality of the GeForce3 chipset will carry over to the Mac platform, but from our observations of the GeForce2 MX chipset in Mac systems we have high expectations indeed. With all those evaluation boards floating around the PC press, maybe a Mac news or gaming site might even score one to take for a spin -- that sounds likely, right?
CGOnline on the GeForce3
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