by January 11, 1999 0 comments

We found some very interesting results from
our shootout. This helped us determine what to look for when going for a graphics card.
First, you should have an idea of what you want to do with your card. If all you want to
do is run common business applications such as word processors, spreadsheets, databases,
etc, then a high-end graphics card will not give you a significant performance
differential over an entry-level one. In fact, we found that the maximum difference
between the highest and the lowest Business Winstone scores was seven percent. And the
price you’ve to pay for this difference is over Rs 14,000! Definitely not worth it.

Video RAM is an issue when going for a graphics card. 4 MB
is entry-level nowadays, and even 8 MB cards are easily available. Abroad, the entry level
is shifting from 16-32 MB! So don’t go for anything less. If you want more realistic
game play, then you’ll need a card with minimum of 16 MB VRAM. As most games nowadays
use Direct3D features, ensure that the card supports most of them. Last year when we
tested 3D cards, we found that a number of Direct3D features were not supported. This
year, however, things have changed, and cards support most of them. (For details, see the
table on the next page). These features and what they mean have been covered in the
article “Know your Graphics” in this issue.

The next thing to look for is OpenGL
support. This allows higher-fps rates, resulting in smoother, faster game play. The prices
of these cards can vary, depending on the number of features supported and the extra
bundled goodies. A video-capture feature, a few game titles, VR glasses and video editing
software are just some of the things that you could get along with the card.

A list of Direct3D
features supported by various cards

Direct3D features

Asus AGP-V-
3000ZX
AsusAGP-
V3400TNT
Asus AGP-V3800 TVR Deluxe ATI RageFury 128 (16 MB) ATI Rage Fury 128 (32 MB)  CreativeGraphics card Blaster RivaTNT XO AGP Volcano,
Voodoo,
Vanshee
Specular highlights 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Alpha transparency 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Modulate pixel blending 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Texture swapping 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Gourad shading 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Dithering 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Anti-aliasing (640X480) x 3 x 3 3 3 x x
Anti-aliasing (1024×768) x 3 x x 3 3 x x
Modulate texture blending 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Decal texture blending 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Decal alpha-texture  blending x 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Modulate alpha-texture blending 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

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