Inno3D Tornado GeForce3 in the test: GeForce 3 against Geforce2 Ultra

Inno3D Tornado GeForce3 in the test: GeForce 3 against Geforce2 Ultra

Technical data

Before we look at the actually new features of the GeForce3, here is an overview of the fundamental innovations compared to its predecessors.

Comparison of the graphics chips
Performance data GeForce2 Pro GeForce2 Ultra GeForce3 Manufacturing process 0.18 µm 0.18 µm 0.15 µm Rendering pipelines 4 4 4 texture units 2 2 2 Chip clock 200 MHz 250 MHz 200 MHz Memory clock 400 MHz 460 MHz 460 MHz memory interface DDR DDR DDR memory bandwidth 6.4 GB/s 7.3 GB/s 7.3 GB/s memory bus 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit memory access 5ns 4ns 3.8ns pixel filling rate 800 MPixel 1000 MPixel/s 800 MPixelTexel fill rate 1800 MTexel/s 2000 MTexel/s 3200 MTexel/s polygon/sec 27 million 31 million 31 million T&L engine? 31 million triangles/s 60 million triangles/s GFLOPS? 45 76 Power consumption 9W 9W 15W

The differences to the predecessor, the Geforce2 chip, fall here immediately. The GeForce3 chip is manufactured using the new 0.15 µm technology, while the predecessors were still manufactured using the old 18 µm technology. Despite its access time of 3.8ns, the memory of the Geforce3 is only clocked with 460Mhz, as with the Geforce2 Ultra, although the memory is designed for much more, but the reference design from nVidia specifies the 460Mhz. This is very accommodating for overclockers, as there is some overclocking potential in the memory and a higher throughput than 7.3GB/s can be achieved. The performance of the T&L engine of the Geforce3, which offers more than twice the theoretical performance of the Geforce2 GTS, is absolutely fabulous. How this translates into performance later remains to be seen, but nVidia has done a lot here.

Although the Geforce3 also only has 4 rendering pipelines and 2 texture units like the GeForce 2 Ultra, these are made possible by new technologies like light speed memory architecture better used. The pixel fill rate of 800 MPixel is not quite as high as with the Geforce2 Ultra, but the theoretical texel fill rate of 3200 MTexel/s is much higher. Apparently, the new technology also seems to have a significant impact on the power consumption of the GeForce 3, as this is very high at 15W.

On the next page: New Features