It's time to settle this. There's only enough room in this town for one video card. At least that's what ATI and NVIDIA would like you to believe. ATI is the on-again off-again (but more recently on) sheriff in this town of passionate, but demanding, Mac users. NVIDIA, the tycoon in the neighboring city, eyes a seat on the city council and decides to make a power play to dethrone the old guard. If that scene sounds familiar, then you've been watching way too many home-brewed movies.
Ever since NVIDIA appeared on the scene, benchmark wars and discussions about which video card is 'better' have raged on. The benchmarks gleaned from the floor of MacWorld San Francisco and published at many Mac websites (including IMG) were no help either. With the help of ATI, who provided me with a Radeon AGP, I was finally able to pit the GeForce2 MX and Radeon against each other. Hopefully, this debate can finally be settled.
I'll cover the standard benchmarking suite of ThroughPut, Quake 3: Arena, Unreal Tournament, and RAVE Bench. I'll also explain the different drivers models currently used by NVIDIA and ATI and what effects they have in game benchmarking. For reference, please read our Radeon review and GeForce2 MX feature. In the near future, look for our review of the Power Macintosh G4/733, where we will be pushing the GeForce2 MX and Radeon to their limits.
The following hardware and software configurations were used for all tests:
• Power Macintosh G4/500 AGP (1999)Benchmark numbers for the GeForce2 MX were taken from my previous article since the results were reproducible with little to no error.
• 384 MB of RAM
• Mac OS 9.1 Base Extension Set
• Virtual Memory Off
• AppleTalk Off
• ATI Radeon 1.1.1 Drivers
• NVIDIA GeForce2 MX 1.1.1 Drivers
• ATI Radeon AGP
• Hercules Prophet II MX AGP
• Quake 3: Arena 1.17
• Unreal Tournament 436
• ThroughPut 1.5
• RaveBench 1.0