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Friday, November 30, 2001
Nvidia Discuss the GeForce3 Ti
9:11 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The crew over at Firing Squad recently managed to land an interview with David Kirk, Chief Scientist for graphics chip maker Nvidia. Makers of the highly popular GeForce series, Nvidia recently released their updated GeForce3 boards, named Titanium, in several different flavors. The bulk of the interview focuses on these recent releases, and asks plenty of tough questions concerning performance issues and user response.

One of the first issues brought up is the possibility of overclocking the cards. The Firing Squad notes that many people may opt to pick up the inexpensive GeForce Ti 200 with the intent of overclocking it past standard GeForce3 performance levels. Kirk responds that the GeForce3 is made to scale well with clock rates, and that all boards are tested for maximum operating speed. However, he admits that a margin is left in order to assure stability in performance.

The issue of rendered shadows is also addressed. Typically, shadows cause a huge hit in performance, and most 3D titles come with the option to turn them off. Kirk responds that the GeForce3 has "specifically optimized paths" for rendering shadows, both through OpenGL and DirectX. The buffer technology in the GeForce3 allows developers to use the same pipeline used for normal rendering.

The Firing Squad also grills Kirk on the issue of some sites reporting that the GeForce3 Ti's memory bandwidth may be inferior to other cards. Kirk responds with efficiency results testing:

Results are the proof. GeForce3 is faster, clock for clock (that is, running at the same clock speed), than any other graphics processor. GeForce3 Ti 200 and 500 cards beat other cards that offer higher clock speeds. What this means is that GeForce3 is more efficient in its memory bandwidth use than other hardware. Also, as I believe people will see from their overclocking experiments, GeForce3 has sufficient overclocking headroom to match the clock rates of other hardware. When you put these facts together, it seems clear to me that GeForce3 is superior. Graphics performance is a result of the total package: graphics architecture, memory usage efficiency, driver quality, feature optimizations, etc.... not just a game of megahertz.
The rest of the interview covers issues such as the number of renders possible in one pass, synthetic benchmarking, and the performance of the GeForce technology running rendered movies such as Final Fantasy in real time. The tech lingo gets a little heavy at times, but the overall interview is a great read for anyone wanting to know a little more about the GeForce3's capabilities and Nvidia's general market strategy.

Firing Squad: Nvidia Interview
Nvidia: GeForce3

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