Big News from nVidia
Finally, something significant
Every day, the Pentium III draws nearer. You see it plastered over Intel's homepage, from OEMs and resellers already offering PIII's which are still supposedly under NDA, and foremost in support for upcoming games, which are almost all slated to take advantage of the new processor's SSE instruction set. Even with its insubstantial non-SSE performance gains over a standard Pentium II, Intel's processors have enough momentum behind them to insure the PIII a lasting and dominant place on the desktop.
nVidia, creators of the awesome RivaTNT 3D chipset, is the first out the door with optimized drivers for the Pentium III and SSE. What does this mean? Well, we've learned from the Pentium III Review that for games such as Quake 2 and Quake 3, something in the vicinity of 75% of all execution time is in the OpenGL drivers. This means that accelerating the video drivers for SSE or 3DNow will yield much more of a performance gain than optimizing the main game code itself.
On February 8th at 2PM PST, nVidia released its new Detonator Drivers for its entire product line, from the Riva128/ZX to the TNT. You can download them here.
The "big deal" about Detonator is that they provide a number of optimizations which yield significantly performance gains the current nVidia reference drivers. In addition, it's also implied that they support the Pentium III's SSE instruction set, something that would mean increased performance across the board for Pentium III processors. In short, it would give a lot of us a palpable reason to move to PIII once it's released.
So we grabbed a hold of our trusty Pentium IIIs and loaded up Detonator, to see exactly what gains we could coax out of these new drivers.