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Friday, February 23, 2001
Carmack on Geforce 3
8:17 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Just back from MacWorld Tokyo, id Software's lead programmer, John Carmack has updated his .plan file with a long analysis of the newly announced Geforce 3 from NVIDIA:

Here is a dump on the GeForce 3 that I have been seriously working
with for a few weeks now:

The short answer is that the GeForce 3 is fantastic. I haven't had such an
impression of raising the performance bar since the Voodoo 2 came out, and
there are a ton of new features for programmers to play with.

Graphics programmers should run out and get one at the earliest possible
time. For consumers, it will be a tougher call. There aren't any
applications our right now that take proper advantage of it, but you should
still be quite a bit faster at everything than GF2, especially with
anti-aliasing. Balance that against whatever the price turns out to be.

While the Radeon is a good effort in many ways, it has enough shortfalls
that I still generally call the GeForce 2 ultra the best card you can buy
right now, so Nvidia is basically dethroning their own product.

It is somewhat unfortunate that it is labeled GeForce 3, because GeForce
2 was just a speed bump of GeForce, while GF3 is a major architectural
change. I wish they had called the GF2 something else.

Carmack has also made a couple of posts in the comments of a related story on In the two posts he both notes they are now using C++ as their language of choice for the new engine and refutes any claims the Mac version is faster than the x86 for the game. Here's the first:
We moved to C++ for the current game (which does not have an official full name yet).

I will probably do a .plan update about it, because it has definately had its pros and cons.

Jim Dose had inadvertantly used a few MS specific idioms that we had to weed out over the past couple weeks of the bring up on OS-X.

And the second:
We did a ton of testing the last two weeks while we were putting the demo together.

The 733 G4 was not as fast as my 1 ghz PIII in any of the trouble areas.

Apple is doing a lot of good work, but the CPU's just aren't as fast as the x86 ones.

AltiVec can compensate in some cases, because it is way, way easier to program for than SSE, but it takes a very simple batched, computation intensive task for it to pay off in any noticable way. Amdahls law and all that.

We did a couple functions with AltiVec, but they didn't make much difference.

Video encoding and large image processing are two areas that it can pay off, because you may be spending 90%+ of your time in one page of code.

Even then, it takes a special balance to let a G4 come out ahead, because it has less memory bandwidthd than a high end x86 system.

Harsh truth, but it isn't anything new to say that Apple needs to jump-start Motorola and IBM to help increase CPU speeds. We're just happy they've finally moved out of the 500's and are making some decent progress.

Carmack's Posts
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Carmack's Geforce 3 .plan file
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Other Mac Games News for Friday, February 23, 2001

NWN Multiplatform Chat Transcripts2:53 PM
SiN Patch Pulled2:34 PM
GeForce 3 Conference Call Notes -- HOT!1:57 PM
GeForce 3 Conference Call, Part 21:55 PM
New iMacs and Gaming11:51 AM
WWII Online Trailer9:31 AM
X-plane Updated to 5.60b89:06 AM
Championship Manager 00/01 Update8:51 AM
Target Korea Mac Update, Screen Shots8:42 AM
Baldur's Gate Multiplayer Status Check8:24 AM
• Carmack on Geforce 38:17 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, February 23, 2001 on one page

Mac Games News for Thursday, February 22, 2001

Fighter Squadron Update3:38 PM
Heroes III Complete Giveaway Continues1:02 PM
Deus Ex Multiplayer Patch in Beta Testing12:21 PM
GeoMAME, CPSMame Updated11:55 AM
GeForce 3: What Does It Mean?10:29 AM
GeForce 3, DOOM Engine Demoed in Tokyo8:58 AM
Official GeForce 3 PR8:45 AM
Jamagic 3D Engine Coming to OS X8:29 AM
King of Dragon Pass Postmortem8:17 AM
DOOM Demo Video [Updated]8:07 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, February 22, 2001 on one page

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