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Thermaltake BLORB
By: Typedef Enum - October 11, 2001

What does it buy me?

At this point in time, I wanted to see what this increase in core/memory would ďbuy me.Ē Before we take a look at the numbers, letís establish a Quake3 performance baseline, using a Max-Quality configuration, without enabling any additional hardware visual tweaks. With all the Titanium reviews out, this graph should look pretty familiar

Now that weíve established a performance baseline, letís enable some of the hidden features of the GeForce3. In particular, Iím talking about anisotropic filtering and FSAA. I won't bore you guys with any glossary definitions and/or screenshots. Suffice to say, the difference in visual quality is substantial.

Mike Chambers, and others, have proclaimed the anisotropic filtering of the GeForce3 to be the real golden nugget, in the absence of DirectX8 games. I couldnít agree more. In fact, I would probably go a little further and say that itís a must-have feature with todayís 3D chips. I used RivaTuner to choose various feature combinations.

Letís take a look at 32-Tap performance.

As you can see, the boost in the core/memory has provided a substantial increase, particularly with some of the more aggressive settings. Thereís no combination of settings which would be regarded as too ďharsh,Ē as for as performance is concerned. 32-Tap looks great, but what about 64-Tap? Letís take a look.

If you subscribe to the ď60 FPSĒ minimum, then you would have to conclude that this boost would allow for any combination of anisotropic filtering and FSAA. Personally, I think that 64-Tap + 2xFSAA is the way to go. The additional boost in performance certainly does give that little ďpush over the cliffĒ (a-la Spinal Tap).

Some people have asked, on various forums, what the performance might look like at some of the higher-resolutions, namely, 1600x1200x32. Given the resources needed to perform some of these operations, I think itís a little too much to ask of a 3D chip (right now at least) to provide anisotropic filtering and FSAA at this resolution. In any event, letís just see what kind of performance gain we get in going from the standard clocking, to our stable 250/560.

 

In my opinion, a high anisotropic setting and FSAA is a little bit too much, even for the GeForce3. Nonetheless, it still delivers acceptable performance. Thereís obviously no issue whatsoever in enabling 32/64-Tap anisotropic filtering (without FSAA) at this resolution. Recall, we achieved 112.2 FPS without enabling any additional hardware features. With a GeForce3 clocked at 250/560, youíre looking at dropping between 20-30 FPS using 32/64-Tap anisotropic filtering. That may seem high, but when you have well over 100 FPS to begin with, isnít it nice to sacrifice some performance for some quality? I sure do.

Next up is Serious Sam, one of my personal favorites. This is one sweet looking game, with tons of tweaks available to the gamer. Iím only going to show the anisotropic filtering performance this time around, due to time constraints.

No matter how you slice it, your performance is still ridiculous when enabling this hardware feature. What this performance boost does, essentially, is provide 32-Tap at almost no cost.

Last on the OpenGL front is DronezMark. Letís take a look:

The numbers are pretty similar to Serious Sam. Itís almost like getting 32-Tap at the same performance level as a stock GeForce3.

Letís turn to DX8 performance. First up is Giants.

 

This game is extremely odd. I only use Windows2000 and WinXP (final) at home for gaming. I did, however, have a small Win98 installation on my system up until a few months ago. There is *something* holding the newer 2000/XP kernel(s) back in the performance department, because I was attaining nearly 100 FPS several months ago on a Win98 machine. At any rate, we gained a small performance gain.

Finally, letís take a look at 3DMark2001

The results are pretty obvious. Itís pretty rewarding to exit this benchmark to the following windowÖ

Next Page: Conclusions

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Last Updated on October 11, 2001

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