Guillemot 3d Prophet
by Leonard "Viking1" Hjalmarson
Similarly, the bump mapping (emboss) scores showed the 3d Prophet's strength. The TNT2 Ultra board scored 130 fps compared to 164 fps for the 3d Prophet.
Pushing to 1280x1024 resolution, the 3d Prophet's rendering speed dropped an average of 25%, while polygon throughput increased slightly, most likely a product of driver immaturity. Moving from 16 bit to 32 bit color produced an average of 20% performance penalty in texture rendering speed and multi-texture fill rate.
The most revealing test in 3dMarkMAX99 for the 3d Prophet compared to the TNT2 Ultra was fill rate and fill rate with multitexturing. Fill rate scores were virtually identical, while fill rate with multitexturing score was exactly double. Polygon rendering speed varied between 50% and 100% faster for the 3d Prophet.
As for moving to a faster processor, the fill rate and texture rendering speed remained almost identical when moving to the more powerful Athlon system. This clearly shows the lack of scalability, or CPU independence, of the GeForce chip.
On to real world applications, in this case one of the simulations that can bring a PC to its knees and also includes a frame rate counter. Granted these are not scientific benchmarks, but at least you can know that the tests were carefully controlled and consistent across both boards.
Jane's WW2 Fighters
JANE'S World War II Fighters is a fun simulation, especially for online play. It is also one of the more demanding simulations on PCs, with decent flight modeling and stunning graphics, with an emphasis on alpha blending and textures. My average frame rate on my PII 450 in WW2 Fighters at 1024x768 is half what I get in Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator.
I ran WW2 Fighters at 1024x768 in 16 bit color, with all graphics options and flight options to the max. I was whisked to the Mustang cockpit when I hit FLY NOW, but the frame rate on the PII 450 was identical whether running the G400 MAX or the 3d Prophet - 19 fps.
At 1280x1024 in 32 bit color the result of 3dMarkMAX99 was repeated, with the 3d Prophet outscoring the TNT2 Ultra by almost 30%. Results in F4 were similar, with no difference in frame rate at 1024x768 and a (smaller) increase at 1280x1024.
SUMMARY : Tomorrow's Technology Today
The Guillemot 3D Prophet is a powerful new board. It's much faster than the TNT2 Ultra when rendering textures and performs as well as the TNT2 Ultra in current simulation applications. Did I mention the S-video out? It's a nice feature, and the 3d Prophet also includes improved DVD/HDTV with motion compensation support.
Onboard support of transformation and lighting is still premature, only making a slight difference in current applications, and only where the application does t&L in API under DX7. The nearest application we know of that will make substantial use of onboard T&L is B17 Flying Fortress II, and that sim is still months away. Patches will appear for F4 and MiG Alley, but the benefits may be less substantial.
As a result, if you already have a current video board, meaning any board that gets you the frame rate you want in your application of choice, why not wait til prices fall? If you are investing in a new system and a new video board, why not buy with the future in mind? In that case the 3d Prophet is a good choice.
At a price around $269 after the rebate, the 3D Prophet is a lot more expensive than an OEM TNT2 board. But that price will fall as competition increases, and the Savage2000 is still an unknown quantity.
Overclockability is always a plus, but other reviewers have not found the 3d Prophet to be stable beyond 130MHz. My board was fine at 135 MHz, still a fairly limited overclocking ability and the chip was certainly hot at that speed.
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Last Updated November 1st, 1999