Prolink GeForce3 Ti 200 Review with NVIDIA's nForce
By: Mike Chambers - January 8, 2002
About This Review
This review was delayed due to a series of exciting events that have altered my personal computer experience during the past few months. The first change is that I've successfully made the transition to using an AMD based system. Not only AMD based, but also a system based on NVIDIA's nForce motherboard chipset. Since this transition occurred while I was actively testing the Prolink GeForce3 Ti 200, I felt compelled to conduct performance tests with this system.
nForce Reference Motherboard
I considered writing a separate review of the nForce, but since the focus of nV News leans toward 3D gaming, the performance tests would have been identical to those found in this review. This decision was also made due to the fact that I've already published a preview of the nForce, and because I'm using a reference motherboard, it may not have all the features of nForce based motherboards such as those from Abit (NV7M), Asus (A7N266, and A7N266-E) or MSI (K7N420 Pro). Ultimately there's no better test than using a product in a production environment for an extended period of time, which I've done with both the nForce and Prolink's GeForce3 Ti 200.
The second change is that this is my first product review using Windows XP Professional, which has provided a host of new features, solid performance, and a surprisingly stable system. Finally, the last change that will affect this and subsequent graphics card reviews is moving up to a Sony E500 21-inch monitor which supports a maximum resolution of 2048x1536.
Sony E500 Monitor
A big screen monitor allows me to test performance at resolutions greater than 1600x1200. As the processing power of central and graphics processors continue to increase, so does the ability to play 3D games at higher resolutions, which will be shown in this review.
One of the first tasks needing attention after installing Windows XP was to ensure that the games I tested ran at a 75Hz refresh rate. Having previously used Windows 98, I was accustomed to the refresh rate in a game defaulting to the refresh rate of the Windows desktop. Under Windows XP, Quake 3 would initialize with a 60Hz refresh rate no matter what resolutions and color depths I used. The refresh rate can be set within Quake 3, but I opted to use the NVIDIA Refresh Rate Fix user-developed program to set the minimum refresh rate for most resolutions to 75Hz while 2048x1536 was set to a 60Hz refresh rate.
NVIDIA Refresh Rate Fix for Windows 2000/XP
Here's a list of the hardware and software used for testing:
For a list of the games I benchmarked and/or tested, click on the image below. It's certainly been the most extensive list of games I've used in a review.
Benchmark results are reported in average frames per second unless otherwise stated. Minimum and maximum frame rates are provided in some cases. Note that sound was disabled unless otherwise stated in which case a Sound Blaster Live was utilized.
I opted not to use graphs to document performance since over 200 benchmarks results are being reported. Instead, the results are shown in tabular format. You'll also notice that certain table cells are shaded in gray, which indicates a setting that I would personally use for that game. Of course this is subjective and your preference may be below or above my threshold.
With the beta Detonator 22.40 drivers, NVIDIA has exposed anisotropic texture filtering under OpenGL. Anisotropic filtering can be used in conjunction with bilinear or trilinear filtering and improves the image quality of textures.
Beta Detonator 22.40 OpenGL Control Panel
Each of these filtering methods will be referred to as 2X, 4X, or 8X in this review.