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Prolink GeForce3 Ti 200 Review with NVIDIA's nForce
By: Mike Chambers - January 8, 2002

Direct 3D Performance - Max Payne

I'll admit to not having played Max Payne until this review, but I found the demo ran surprisingly well in high resolutions on the GeForce3. Unlike the traditional Max Payne benchmark which is based on a cut-scene from a movie, I used FRAPS to measure performance during actual gameplay. After re-visiting various graphics card reviews using the Max Payne cut-scene as a benchmark, I've noticed that gameplay performance was significantly faster.

Frame rates were being logged as I began my test at the entrance to the subway control room as shown in the first image below. After knocking off four of the thugs in the control room, I entered a second room and grabbed the painkillers from the medicine cabinet. I left the control room and made my way down to level 2 and encountered another thug. After knocking him off, I walked down a long corridor to a locked gate. At the gate, I proceeded to knock off two more thugs (second image) and eventually made my way back to the level 2 exit. Graphics settings were set to high quality with trilinear filtering and sound was enabled.

High Quality Setting with Quincunx Antialiasing

Click To Enlarge - 102KB

High Quality Setting with Quincunx Antialiasing

Click To Enlarge - 109KB

Max Payne - 32-Bit Color

Resolution NVIDIA GeForce3 Ti 500 Prolink GeForce3 Ti 200
1024x768
No AA
Avg: 90
Min: 58
Max: 174
Avg: 78
Min: 42
Max: 163
1024x768
Quincunx AA
Avg: 50
Min: 36
Max: 93
Avg: 37
Min: 26
Max: 48
1024x768
4X AA
Avg: 37
Min: 27
Max: 71
Avg: 23
Min: 18
Max: 43
1280x1024
No AA
Avg: 67
Min: 46
Max: 144
Avg: 53
Min: 34
Max: 138
1280x1024
2X AA
Avg: 35
Min: 26
Max: 64
Avg: 28
Min: 19
Max: 56
1600x1200
No AA
Avg: 50
Min: 34
Max: 121
Avg: 38
Min: 23
Max: 105
1920x1440
No AA
Avg: 33
Min: 23
Max: 61
Avg: 27
Min: 16
Max: 71

Performance on the Prolink GeForce3 Ti 200 was adequate at a resolution of 1280x1024, although I would have preferred a higher average frame rate since Max Payne is a first person shooter. This could have been done by throttling back on some of the graphics options or using the next lowest resolution of 1152x864. The only antialiasing mode I would consider using would be 2X at a resolution of 1024x768 which wasn't tested. The same comments apply to playing at a resolution of 1600x1200 on the GeForce3 Ti 500.

Antialiasing Comparison - Max Payne

No AA 2X AA
Click To Compare Antialiasing Modes Click To Compare Antialiasing Modes
Quincunx AA 4X AA
Click To Compare Antialiasing Modes Click To Compare Antialiasing Modes

As for using antialiasing in Max Payne, I would settle for using 2X since there didn't seem to be any appreciable benefit in using Quincunx or 4X.

Direct 3D Performance - Unreal Tournament

Direct 3D performance continues with the more traditional benchmarks found in graphics card reviews. This section contains results from Unreal Tournament while the next section shows performance in 3DMark2001.

Unreal Tournament contines to be a popular on-line game. According to statistics at GameSpy, it usually ranks 3rd or 4th.

Unreal Tournament - Thunder Demo - 32-Bit Color

Resolution NVIDIA GeForce3 Ti 500 Prolink GeForce3 Ti 200
1024x768
No AA
Avg: 121
Min: 72
Max: 239
Avg: 121
Min: 73
Max: 239
1280x1024
No AA
Avg: 113
Min: 68
Max: 226
Avg: 99
Min: 58
Max: 187
1600x1200
No AA
Avg: 92
Min: 50
Max: 187
Avg: 73
Min: 40
Max: 146

Unreal Tournament - 1600x1200

Click To Enlarge - 354KB

Thinking that the Thunder demo wasn't especially taxing on performance, I fired up a multiplayer game of Unreal Tournament with 12 bots in the confines of the DM-Fractal map. After a few minutes of gameplay at a resolution of 1600x1200, I averaged 67 frames per second on the Prolink GeForce3 Ti 200 with high quality sound enabled. Even with all the action going on in the above screenshot, the recorded frame rate was 38 frames per second. A little overclocking experimentation would be a good idea for this setting.

Direct 3D Performance - 3DMark2001

And finally 3DMark2001 using the default benchmark settings along with Quincunx antialiasing results. A look at image quality wraps up this section of the review.

3DMark2001 - Default Settings - No Antialiasing

Test Quality NVIDIA GeForce3 Ti 500 Prolink GeForce3 Ti 200
Game 1 Low Avg: 124 Avg: 102
Game 1 High Avg: 47 Avg: 45
Game 2 Low Avg: 120 Avg: 100
Game 2 High Avg: 67 Avg: 56
Game 3 Low Avg: 125 Avg: 112
Game 3 High Avg: 59 Avg: 55
Game 4   Avg: 42 Avg: 31
Overall   7997 6873

3DMark2001 - Default Settings - Quincunx Antialiasing

Test Quality NVIDIA GeForce3 Ti 500 Prolink GeForce3 Ti 200
Game 1 Low Avg: 72 Avg: 54
Game 1 High Avg: 41 Avg: 33
Game 2 Low Avg: 72 Avg: 54
Game 2 High Avg: 49 Avg: 37
Game 3 Low Avg: 75 Avg: 58
Game 3 High Avg: 44 Avg: 35
Game 4   Avg: 26 Avg: 19
Overall   5393 4141

The professional version of 3DMark2001 contains a series of image quality tests whereby a sample screenshot from each high quality game test is taken. These images can then be compared to a set of reference images which were rendered using the Direct3D reference rasterizer. I created a comparison page for each of the game tests which can be viewed by clicking on each thumbnail below.

Image Quality Comparison - 3DMark2001

Game 1 Game 2
Click to Compare Image Quality Click to Compare Image Quality
Game 3 Game 4
Click to Compare Image Quality Click to Compare Image Quality

You'll run across some subtle differences, such as parts of the street texture detail in game 2, the intensity of light used in the game 3 test, and the ripples in the water in the game 4 test. Other than that, the Prolink GeForce3 Ti 200 passed this image quality test.

Next Page: Overclocking And Conclusion

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Last Updated on January 8, 2002

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