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CPU MOTHERBOARD TECH VIDEO REVIEWS

SOCKET 7 VIDEO CARD

"AMD K6 2 processor Socket 7 video card review, Gigabyte GA-5AA and the following video cards. Diamond Stealth III S540 Savage4, STB Velocity 4400 Nvidia TNT, STB 3DFX Voodoo3 2000 and Palit Daytona GeForce2 MX video card. Software used during testing was:- PC Player Direct3D Benchmark, Quake 2, Quake 3 and Wintune 1997."
SOCKET 7

The simple answer is I had an AMD K6 2 550mhz SS7 PC and a supply of older 3D cards and I wanted to find out if there's life left in Socket7. Sometimes it's almost as if your new video card is obsolete before you've even taken it out of the box. The problem people with Super Socket7 PC's face is that upgrading to a newer faster PC is a MAJOR upgrade. If your Super Socket7 PC uses the old AT case you'll need a new ATX case, you might also need a new keyboard, you'll need a new motherboard and cpu ofcourse. It's an expensive upgrade and if you can get a bit more life out of your old pc then it's worth finding out what video cards will give you the best performance for your money. We aim to answer some of these questions:-

Is it worth getting a GeForce2 MX or should I stick with my old 3D card?

Is AMD K6 2 still a viable gaming platform?

GENERAL SYSTEM INFORMATION

PROCESSOR AMD K6 2 550MHZ
VIDEO CARD DIAMOND SAVAGE4 PRO
PALIT DAYTONA GEFORCE2 MX 32MB AGP
STB VELOCITY 4400 NVIDIA TNT 16MB AGP
STB 3DFX VOODOO3 2000 16MB AGP
3DFX DRIVER V3-W9X-1.07
NVIDIA DRIVER DETONATOR 6.5
S3 DRIVER 395_WIN9X_ME_82033
MOTHERBOARD GIGABYTE GA-5AA ALI ALADDIN V REV 3.2
MEMORY 128MB PC-100 SDRAM
OPERATING SYSTEM WINDOWS 98
DIRECTX VERSION v8.0a

WINTUNE 97

1024x768x16

GEFORCE2 MX159
NVIDIA TNT138
3DFX V3 2000132
S3 SAVAGE4109

1024x768x32

GEFORCE2 MX126
NVIDIA TNT110
3DFX V3 2000N/A
S3 SAVAGE452

GEFORCE2 MX NVIDIA TNT 3DFX V3 2000 S3 SAVAGE4

COMMENT "As you can see all of the video cards gave good performance in 16bit. I was expecting the GeForce2 to win this and it did by 21mps in 16bit and 16mps in 32bit. I was disappointed to see the Savage4 behind the other video cards and especially in 32bit. The 32bit performance of the Savage4 was awful, going from 16bit to 32bit resulted in a huge drop of 57mps. The pleasant surprise was the excellent performance from the Nvidia TNT, it's performance in 32bit was so great that it beat the Savage4 in 16bit."

PC PLAYER DIRECT3D

640x480x16

GEFORCE2 MX90
NVIDIA TNT82
3DFX V3 200064
S3 SAVAGE485

640x480x32

GEFORCE2 MX84
NVIDIA TNT77
3DFX V3 2000N/A
S3 SAVAGE470

GEFORCE2 MX NVIDIA TNT 3DFX V3 2000 S3 SAVAGE4

COMMENT "I was surprised that the Savage4 showed such good performance in this test. It is a well known fact that the drivers from S3 have never been that great but here it is 5fps behind the GeForce2 in the 16bit test. All of the video cards are above 80fps in the 16bit test which is impressive. The Voodoo3 was the only card not to make 80fps, it could only manage 64fps. All of the other video cards got more than that in 32bit, the only reason I can give for this performance is that the Direct3D drivers are not optimised for this benchmark."

PC PLAYER DIRECT3D

1024x768x16

GEFORCE2 MX78
NVIDIA TNT63
3DFX V3 200053
S3 SAVAGE449

1024x768x32

GEFORCE2 MX70
NVIDIA TNT56
3DFX V3 2000N/A
S3 SAVAGE440

GEFORCE2 MX NVIDIA TNT 3DFX V3 2000 S3 SAVAGE4

COMMENT "Increase the resolution and we can now see the GeForce2 gaining an advantage over the TNT. The Savage4 slips into last place just behind the Voodoo3."

QUAKE 2

640x480x16

GEFORCE2 MX80
NVIDIA TNT60
3DFX V3 200063
S3 SAVAGE475

640x480x32

GEFORCE2 MX80
NVIDIA TNT55
3DFX V3 2000N/A
S3 SAVAGE468

GEFORCE2 MX NVIDIA TNT 3DFX V3 2000 S3 SAVAGE4

COMMENT "The GeForce2 managed to score 80fps in both the 16bit and 32bit test, the reason for this is that the GeForce2 is being limited by the cpu. Another impressive showing by the Savage4, only 5fps slower than the GeForce2. The Voodoo3 manages a third place just ahead of the TNT, I was disappointed to see the TNT do so badly in this test. In this test there is two clear winners, the GeForce2 and the Savage4. The Savage4 managed better performance even at 32bit than the TNT and Voodoo3 at any colour depth, that's impressive!"

QUAKE 2

1024x768x16

GEFORCE2 MX76
NVIDIA TNT36
3DFX V3 200047
S3 SAVAGE434

1024x768x32

GEFORCE2 MX76
NVIDIA TNT28
3DFX V3 2000N/A
S3 SAVAGE430

GEFORCE2 MX NVIDIA TNT 3DFX V3 2000 S3 SAVAGE4

COMMENT "With the increase in resolution things change drastically, as you would expect the GeForce2 puts in a high score of 76fps (once again it's being cpu limited). The Voodoo3 manages to get second although it's 29fps slower than the GeForce2. The TNT takes the lead over the Savage4 which slips back into last place although both the end two are very close. A surpise was that the Savage4 managed to beat the TNT in the 32bit test, only by 2fps but it was unexpected."

QUAKE 3

640x480x16

GEFORCE2 MX40
NVIDIA TNT32
3DFX V3 200031
S3 SAVAGE438

1024x768x32

GEFORCE2 MX36
NVIDIA TNT16
3DFX V3 2000N/A
S3 SAVAGE419

GEFORCE2 MX NVIDIA TNT 3DFX V3 2000 S3 SAVAGE4

COMMENT "All of the 4 video cards made the 30fps mark but it was a very close result. If you bought a GeForce2 to play this game at 640x480x16bit you'll be very disappointed. The Savage4 managed to put in a repectable performance, only 2fps slower in the 16bit test. However both the TNT and Savage4 couldn't get near the performance of the GeForce2 in the 32bit test. The Voodoo3 is last only 1fps slower than a TNT."

CONCLUSION:- 3DFX VOODOO3 2000 What is there to say? I've never been a fan of the Voodoo3 and the tests pretty much confirmed why. I must admit that if you use glide the performance is good but with 3DFX not being around anymore I think that all glide support will stop. This means you'll have to use Direct3D and OpenGL and the drivers for these with the Voodoo3 are very poor. Even S3 managed to get a half decent OpenGL ICD for the Savage4, why couldn't 3DFX do the same? NVIDIA GEFORCE 2 MX Could it be anything else? The GeForce 2 MX is an excellent budget video card especially for Socket 7. Power is a problem with Socket 7 motherboards, this video card uses only 4watts of power and it worked perfectly with Gigabyte Aladdin V motherboard. It constantly gave the best performance at all resolutions but especially at higher resolutions. It's got great drivers which are updated often and there was no problems at all. NVIDIA TNT This video card gave very good 2D performance at 16bit and 32bit, it wasn't too far behind the GeForce 2. It gave great Direct3D and OpenGL performance as well. As with the Savage4 this video card would be great in a budget system. S3 SAVAGE4 When I first owned one of these cards I had problems with the drivers. It took S3 a long time to get the drivers sorted out but with using the latest drivers I had no problems at all. It gives very good performance at lower resolutions, however the video card can't run games very well at high resolutions. With Quake 3 it was only 2fps slower than a GeForce 2 at max settings, that's impressive. Savage4 is great for a budget system and light game use. Hopefully we'll be seeing more video cards from S3 in the future but please get the drivers working BEFORE you release the video card.

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