Accelerate Your Mac!
ATI Nexus GA and IXMicro Ultimate Rez FaceOff
Review date: 01/11/1998
2D Graphics Performance Testing (MacBench 4.0)
1152x870, Millions Colors tests:

The monitor used for test had a maximum resolution of 1152x870 at a acceptable refresh rate, 75hz, so the high resolution tests were performed at this setting. The tests used were MacBench 4.0's Graphics (a mix of general application graphics operations at 640x480 size windows) and the much more demanding Hi-Res Publishing Test ( a scripted series of typical Photoshop/Pagemaker type image and page layout manipulations, including zooms, scrolling, scaling, etc.) [Macbench is no longer available or supported by Ziff-Davis, so the link to the Macbench FAQ was removed since the FAQ is no longer on their web site.]

It was immediately apparent that the Ultimate Rez was not just a warmed over Twin Turbo from the 2D test results in MacBench. For the first time the Imagine 128 Series 2 was beaten in the Hi-Res Publishing test at 1152x870, 75hz. The Ultimate Rez Hi-Res Pub. score was more than double the Twin Turbo's score in the 8500/200 from my earlier review. Although the Imagine 128 S2 was 10% faster in the std Graphics test at this resolution, the Ultimate Rez trailed by only about 10%, and based on performance improvements in driver revisions to the Twin Turbo I'd expect performance to only get better in later versions of the Ultimate Rez drivers.

The results of the Hi-Res. Publishing test in the 180mhz PowerTower Pro is shown below:
 

High Res. Publishing Tests at 1152x870, 75HZ, Millions Colors:
MacBench Hi-Res Test Results
 

Although the 64-bit Nexus GA trailed the two 128-bit cards, it was not by much, a tribute to the driver and card design. I used the latest release of the Nexus GA drivers - which have yet to appear at the ATI Nexus GA Drivers page as of this review date, but they should be there any day now. As a side note, the Rage Pro chip used in the Nexus GA is the exact same chip is used in the PC AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) version which supports 2X (133mhz) AGP bus speeds.


1024x768, Thousands Colors tests:

To show relative performance at less demanding resolutions for owners who may not have monitors that allow resolutions as high as 1152x870, or those with smaller monitors where that resolution would be hard to read, I ran the standard MacBench Graphics test at 1024x768, 16-bit (thousands) color mode. I was a little surprised to see that the Imagine was slower in thousands color mode than at the higher color depth. The scores are shown below:


MacBench Graphics Scores: 1024x768, 75HZ, Thousands Colors
MacBench 1024x768, thousands colors results

As shown above - in the less demanding 16-bit color tests some odd things occur - the Imagine 128S2 is actually slower at 16-bit color than at 32-bit color mode, and the Nexus GA performance increases slightly above the I128 scores, while the Ultimate Rez shows the highest increase and score.


It appears the Ultimate Rez delivers on IXMicro's promise of twice the Twin Turbo's 2D speed, at least in the Hi-Res publishing tests. The Nexus GA does a fine job, but is appx. 17% slower at both the hi-res. publishing test in millions colors, and the 1024x768, thousands colors Graphics test.

2D Tests Winner: Ultimate Rez

On to 3D Test Results =>>

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