"So fast, it's kind of ridiculous." |
In a bold move 3Dfx's new Napalm card supports legacy equipment in an effort to push gaming even more into the mainstream. By filtering game engine graphics down to a CGA-compatible 320x240 and 4bit color depth, the card frees up the CPU enough to support more up to date gaming.
On our Zenith 286 with a Mitsubishi AUM1381 monitor here at NGR, we've acheived an average of 5000 fps in Quake, and over 7500 fps in Duke Nukem 3D. Even though hardcore gamers will gripe at playing their games in 16 shades of gray (or green depending on the monitor), the addition of 3Dfx's new T-buffer makes up for the lack of color. With motion blur and depth of field, the animation is just silky-smooth.
Results have varied, though from monitor to monitor. On multisyncs that suport the CGA signal, like the Sony 1302 or Diamond Scan, you get a full screen, blinding fast view. However some of the older, CGA-only tend to actually split the screen in half veritcally and show a dual image. When asked about this problem, PT Barnaum talked of a work-around they plan to implement on the second generation of this groundbreaking card: "Yeah, the scan rates (on CGA monitors) are about half as slow as newer VGA monitors. But thanks to some of the 3D visualization work done by SGI with games like Quake, we can use that split screen "feature" to provide stereoscopic viewing. The Napalm II will ship with special 3Dfx glasses to put those (two images) back together." This seems like a brilliant move, since the steroscopic shift is produced all on the card, the older CPUs really shouldn't be affected.
Shipping in 16M and 32M varieties, the card manages to take over all the graphics computing. This relegates the CPU to more menial tasks, such as reading I/O, beeping every now and then, and making sure your coffee starts brewing at precisely 9:00am.
The new card seems an obvious move, since the home installed base for PCs is only a small fraction of the numbers of computers in businesses around the world. The problem has always been that business computers typically have been much older then the cutting edge computers in the home market. Still, much to the consternation of managers and bosses everywhere, people all along have been buying and playing games at work. 3Dfx is capitilizing on this with the launch of their new card.
With the new boom of video games, more and more people want the same experience at both home and work. Sneaking behind the boss's back to play WinMine just doesn't cut it anymore when workers have been playing Quake at home. Look for the card Summer 2000. Or preorder on-line at www.3Dfx.com