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Date of review: 11-June-2000
Type Of Review: Videocards
With the launch of the Voodoo 5 5500 delayed, the board at play today is a scarce evaluation unit, whereas the Creative GeForce2 GTS is a retail commodity sitting on shelves in Sim Lim Square.
Each card boasts a unique set of abilities that will force users to carefully consider their future needs. With hyped features like Transform & Lighting (T&L) and Full-Scene-Anti-Aliasing (FSAA), they are both begging for immediate attention and hoping for market acceptance.
Previously, wars were fought over 16-bit vs 32-bit colour, but now we have new dilemmas that presented themselves with this generation of video accelerators.
While NVIDIA felt it was time the graphics card took some load off the host CPU by performing the transform and lighting calculations onboard, 3dfx continued to pursue fill rates and other features.
Must we have T&L right now? Does FSAA make that much of a difference to warrant killing our frame rates (it doesn't?)? The GeForce2 GTS now has drivers to enable FSAA, so how much better is Voodoo 5's FSAA? What about motion blur and depth-of-field blur?
Doug Bauer on comments by 3dfx's Gary Tarolli that T&L will limit the longevity of video cards:
Since the TNT2, NVIDIA dominated the high-end gaming card scene almost too easily. The competition only stood and watched when they did not have a product cycle as fast nor as efficient.
...this is PR vs PR: someone saying T&L can limit you in the future (which really, if nVidia is smart with their drivers, won't) vs T&L is great (which it isn't, yet -- and the consumer still pays for it). Silly stuff on both sides.
We saw the V3 fight a valiant duel with the TNT2 Ultras, but NVIDIA’s backup arrived rather quickly in the form of the GeForce, sealing 3dfx's fate.
Fast-forwarding to the present, the GeForce2 GTS, like clockwork, is NVIDIA’s spring refresh to the core technologies introduced with the GeForce in Sep-Oct last year. In fact, the GeForce2 GTS is not just a vanilla refresh, it comes with QUITE a bit more to boot!
What makes this more exciting is the fact that the competition is waking up from their stupor to ensure that NVIDIA will not clinch an uncontested victory.
3dfx, for one, has (finally) got their new Voodoo 5s rearing to go!
Today's 3dfx has fully embraced 32-bit colour rendering and the Voodoo 5 series is an interesting multi-chip solution that looks set to give NVIDIA a hard run for the money. Using a parallel processing technique they call Scan Line Interleave (similar to that introduced in the days of the Voodoo 2), the scalable architecture allows the VSA-100 chips to be paired each addressing 32MB of frame buffer, up to maximum of 256MB per board.
Whew! As you might have noticed, we have FSAA, T&L, NSR, T-Buffer and lots of 'techo-croymns' coined just with the emergence of two new video cards. So before we delve into the details, let us first examine the specifications of the Creative 3D Blaster GeForce2 GTS (henceforth referred to as GF2) and its incorporated technologies.
Subsequently, we’ll look at the Voodoo 5 5500 AGP and finally a combined benchmark comparison.