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VisionTek GeForce3

By: Brian Gray - May 7, 2001

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Introduction

Another generation of video cards has arrived and a revolutionary chip has been retired. The groundbreaking GeForce gave way to the GeForce2 and now the GeForce3 is poised to take PC gaming to the next level. Visiontek has been fabbing boards for the GeForce family since its inception, most of that time as a behind the scenes supplier. A recent move to retail by VisionTek places one of the best card manufacturers on the shelves along side Hercules, ELSA and others, and deservedly so.

The GeForce3 is a technological powerhouse at the top of the VisionTek line which includes a GTS/Pro mid-market offering, and several MX value options.

The GeForce3

Mike's GeForce3 Preview is one of the best on the web and you should use it to review the technical specs and new features of the next-gen GeForce. What I want to do is take this oppurtunity to comment on a few aspects of the GeForce3.

GeForce3 Comparison

  GeForce2 GTS GeForce2 Ultra GeForce3
Process Technology .18 micron .18 micron .15 micron
Core/Memory Speed 200MHz/333MHz 250MHz/460MHz 200MHz/460MHz
Memory Amount 32/64MB 64MB 64MB
Memory Bandwidth 5.3GB/Sec 7.4GB/Sec 7.4GB/Sec
Transistors 25 Million 25 Million 57 Million

The GeForce3 is a jump forward in fab technology. Nothing available to the consumer can rival the GeForce3 in design complexity and scale. When NVIDIA decided to take on adding 22 million transistors, they went with the .15u process, allowing for similar sized packaging as the GeForce2 as well as similar heat output and power consumption despite the huge jump in transistor count. Very cool.

You may have noticed a lack of MTexel ratings above. I have hinted before that the video card industry was going to move away from raw numbers and start pushing the features. I love when I am right. Instead of Gigapixel plastered all over the box, we see a move to listing features like High Resolution Anti-Aliasing, the nFiniteFX engine, and Lightspeed Memory Architecture. Quite a bit of evolution in rather short period of time.

VisionTek's New Found Fame

VisionTek is one of the first to market with their GeForce3 offering. Good thing too, because it will also probably be one of the cheapest. Why is it important that the cheapest card hits first? The lower the barrier to entry, the sooner you will see widespread developer implementaion of new features this card is capable of.

I will be taking a multiple part approach to reviewing the VisionTek GeForce3. The more time you spend with the card, the more you realize how difficult it is to quantify what the GeForce3 can bring to your gaming experience.

Let's start with the card, installation and a little overclocking experimentation.

Next Page: The Card

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Last Updated on May 7, 2001

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