InstallationWhen you unpack the GeForce 3 from its box the size of the heat sinks is pretty impressive, the GPU is cooled by a Thermaltake Blue Orb and the RAM is cooled by some rather large heatsinks which are about 11mm tall as seen in the pictures previously, also in the box are lots of manuals in various languages plus a manual for the included DVD software Power DVD 3.0. Also included are some Hercules stickers, Proclaiming" Powered by Hercules" this is something a nice touch and something I haven't seen with a graphics card before. On the installation CD are NVIDIA Detonator Drivers version 12.0 which are customised with the Hercules Logo's. The drivers are easily installed just browse to the folder calledwin95 on the CD, also on the CD are Windows 2000 drivers, although I didn't try the card under Windows 2000. The animated gif below shows the important tabs within the first control panel applet.
Once you have navigated through those menus you start to get to the interesting stuff the settings for the D3D and OpenGL. These are shown below in another animated gif
In the first advanced tab you get the options for Antialiasing, Quincunx Antialiasing is a new feature only found on the GeForce3. Antialiasing in basic terms takes out the jagged edges in games, but it also comes at the expense of game speed. There's a lot more about this in the benchmark section. (O: .
The Wonders of the NVIDIA Demo's
The first thing I did once I had installed the card was to install the demo's off the driver CD, included on the CD are Zoltar,Chameleon Multiskin and Inferno, The first two where very impressive, the 3rdInferno wasn't as graphically good but still cool to see.
Before I start with the benchmarks lets just see a few shots from NVIDIA demo's and a few other games that I've found. For starters here's a shot from Zoltar, it isa full screen rendered human head, which talks and moves for you, it has amazing detail, right down to wrinkles and stubble on the face. Just for the one head demo it takes up nearly 300MB of hard drive space, as you start the demo up you get this message popping up:
The Zoltar demo takes a fair few seconds to load up, (probably because its sending unheard of amounts of data to GeForce3 ) There is obviously an awful lot of work gone into making it look so good. see below for a few shots from the demo, you have to see the demo running to really appreciate it though.
The image is the same demo run on the GeForce2 Ultra, the details in the face just aren't there, the GeForce3certainly has some nifty extra features.
To try and get the feel for the demo I've included a very short video clip from the demo, its in DivX format, so you may need to download the codec to get it to play. Download DivX codec here
And here's the Chameleon Demo, it shows a chameleon walking along a branch surrounded by lush vines and undergrowth, as always you can use the mouse to move the image around and view it from any position, as the chameleon walks along it changes colour from the image seen below, right through to transparent and skeletal its really pretty cool to watch. Also from the menu you can choose to show different draw styles such as points, Lines, solid and normal, if you click on the link below you can see better shots of the different draw styles, and see just how detailed the model really is
Another game I downloaded was Everglade Rush, I've taken a few quick screen shots with a GeForce 2 Ultra and with the Hercules GeForce 3, if you click on the small images you will get a full screen image showing just how much better the GeForce 3 looks on the same game
DroneZ is another demo that I've used to show the features of the GeForce3,some of the textures included remind me of the very early Quake 3 demo test which had a pink fleshy looking feature in the middle of the map, shown below are some thumbnail clips click on them to see the full size screenshot. DroneZ is due out later in the year, at the moment its purely a benchmark and technical demo.
Aquamark is a new game benchmark based on the Krass-engine, It utilises some of the features on the GeForce3 there are some options in the setup screen to allow the game to use the pixel shader. The Game engine will feature in the upcoming game title Aquanox, but at the moment it is strictly a benchmarking tool, that looks very nice.
We have been told that Aquamark is planned to make full use of the capacity of videocards, and that the game wont do so fully
A screenshot from Everglade Rush a game that actually has options for GeForce 3 graphic settings
The actual game demo I downloaded has a very tricky control system, but it still looks good and shows some of the new features incorporated in the GeForce3.
Well that's enough of the pretty pictures for now, lets see how this beauty performs