In our original Quake 3 roundup
, we combined video cards from 3dfx, ATI, NVIDIA, Matrox, and S3 with the latest reference drivers available from each manufacturer. After we posted the original article many of you asked for performance numbers with less "conventional" drivers. Matrox TurboGL drivers for the G400 MAX and/or Wicked3D's WickedGL drivers for the Voodoo3 were among the most popular requests we received.
Since we aim to please here at FiringSquad we decided to rerun the tests with these unofficial drivers. After all, if there are drivers out there that offer more performance we might as well try them right?
With this in mind the perfect addition to the original article was born.
Introducing the players
So what exactly do we have in this updated comparison article? NVIDIA's Detonator 5.08 drivers for the GeForce 256 and TNT2 Ultra cards, S3's latest drivers, Matrox TurboGL drivers, and Wicked3D's WickedGL drivers.
These newer drivers offer improved performance in many of our tests; in fact we've already reported on the performance benefits of the 5.08 drivers just a few weeks ago.
We also reported on the WickedGL drivers from Wicked3D and the performance benefits they allow for Voodoo3 users back in December; what we haven't covered is Matrox's TurboGL drivers. In some cases these TurboGL drivers offer a 42% performance improvement over standard G400 drivers!
Besides the new drivers, everything else remained the same. The same processors were tested with the same video cards on the same motherboards. With only one variable changing, you should be able to compare the results from this article with the original article fairly accurately.
Proceed with caution!
Keep in mind that even though we were able to run our entire suite of Quake 3 tests with all three testbed platforms doesn't mean it will work for everyone.
These drivers are unsupported and may result in visual quality artifacts or defects in the games you play. In the worst case, system instability could result.
We've received many emails from readers describing their horror stories with some of these drivers, bringing our enthusiasm for them back to reality. In short, just because these drivers work for us, doesn't mean it will for you.
So how did the video cards perform with these drivers in hand? Read on for the results!