It’s been a few months since nVidia’s announcement of the GeForce3 GPU, andhere we review our first video card based on this particular chip, Asus V8200. There are many new features in this GPU, like the pixel and vertex shaders, and Light-speed memory architecture. This GPU has 57 million transistors and can perform more than 800 billion operation per second. The new memory architecture gives it a high memory bandwidth of 7.4 GB/sec. For more information on these features, consult our July 2000 article on the technology behind the GeForce3.
The Asus V8200 Deluxe card comes with some extra features as well. A video-in port lets you connect your camcorder, VCR, etc, whereas the video-out port can be used to connect another display like a TV to the video card. The card also comes with 3D glasses that can produce a 3D effect on some games if your monitor supports high refresh rates. There is a large heatsink on the GPU that also covers the memory chips and keeps them cool. This could potentially help overclockers.
Of course, all these numbers and features mean little if they aren’t backed up by actual performance in games. Hence, we ran a couple of benchmarks including QuakeIII Arena, 3D Winbench 2000 and 3DMark2001. We have also included a new game in our tests called Serious Sam. All tests were run on a P4 2.0 GHz system with 128 MB RDRAM. As you can see from the table beneath, the GeForce3 GPU results in a significant improvement in performance in almost all benchmarks. It is interesting to note that a GeForce2 GTS can outperform the GeForce3 at low resolutions in QuakeIII Arena, but gets held back at higher resolutions and color depths. We can attribute this to the new memory architecture on the GeForce3, which leads to better memory utilization at high resolutions. We see big differences in 3DMark2001 and 3DWinbench 2000 as well. 3DMark2001 is a DirectX 8 based benchmark, and the GeForce3 chip has been designed specifically to exploit its features.
The V8200 comes with a substantial bundle apart from the drivers, which includes three games and four software CDs. However, the games could’ve been better considering the fact that this is about the best video card available. The bundled games are Messiah, Star Trek New Worlds and Sacrifice. Software includes AsusDVD 2000, Ulead VideoStudio SE and CyberLink VideoLive Mail 4.
You’ll have to shell out Rs 41,000 for this card, limiting this card’s potential owners to very serious gamers, and those into heavy 3D modeling work, as used in AutoCAD and CAM. You may want to wait a little before buying such a card and let the market hot up with some competition.
Anuj Jain for PCQ Labs