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Monday, August 7, 2000
 
GeForce MX 2 vs Q3A
1:59 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

NVIDIA fansite nV News has posted an interesting look at the GeForce2 MX chipset, a low-cost single-chip design which was recently released by the PC graphics card manufacturer, and which was designed with the Mac platform in mind. Although there are no currently announced Mac products based on this chip, we do expect versions of this low-cost ($110) card to make it to the Mac eventually -- and the excellent numbers obtained in these benchmarks of Q3A may give the $300+ cards a run for your pocket money.


This article focuses directly upon benchmarking with Quake 3 Arena; this makes the article a valuable read for Quake 3 fans as well, as it is full of Q3A performance tips and tweaks. In fact, the article links to two Q3A "tweak" guides that are packed with useful, if a bit arcane, charts and tables that document the major slowdowns in Q3A and illustrate how to balance between visuals and speed to get the frame rates you want.


As for the GeForce 2 MX itself, it has the remarkable performance PC gamers have come to expect from this chip developer. As we learned with our preview of the 3dfx Voodoo5 5500, PC benchmarks do not translate directly into Mac equivalents. The actual source of the performance bottleneck is still up for debate, but it is clear that we cannot expect the same level of performance from the GeForce 2 MX on the Mac. However these benchmarks are still useful, as they illustrate the strengths (32-bit color) and weaknesses (very high resolutions, high-rez textures) of this chipset. It is also worth noting that the benchmarks for 1024x768/32-bit come very close to the benchmarks for the V5 5500 at the same settings on a G4/500.


This article is a worthy read for the Q3A tweaking tips alone, but it also makes it quite clear that NVIDIA's low-cost chip is a worthy contender with the high-end crowd, especially at low and medium resolutions. We are absolutely certain that you will see this chipset on a Mac-specific card in the future; the only question is when. You may get an answer before Macworld San Francisco this January.

3dfx Voodoo5 5500 Preview
Q3A Tune-up Guide Part II
Q3A Tune-up Guide Part I
GeForce2 MX Q3A Benchmarks at nV News


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Archives  News  GeForce MX 2 vs Q3A