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The Source for Mac Performance News and Reviews
Review: Formac's Proformance 3
By Mike
Review date: 9/14/99
Movie Playback Performance
Intro | 2D Performance | 3D Performance | Game Performance | Movie Playback | Controls/Design | Summary
Movie Playback Performance
Thanks to a friend (Steve Weisel) I was able to provide a better 'stress test' of movie playback performance for this review. Steve recently sent a CD with the high quality, 44KHz audio version of the Star Wars 'Phantom Menace' trailer which I tested using Macbench 5.0's 'custom' movie tests. I believe this movie was compressed with the Sorensen codec.

All cards were set to 1152x870, millions colors and the movie was set to be scaled to full screen.. The movie was played from the hard drive to prevent the CDROM drive's performance from affecting the scores. (Playing the movie back from RAM didn't really change the performance in this test for those that are wondering.) The test system was a B&W G3/400 with Quicktime v4.01 installed. All cards were tested in the 33MHz PCI slot.

The graphs below shows the results of the frames played and max framerate tests in MacBench 5.0 when scaling the movie to full screen. (Due to aspect ratio of the movie it is scaled to the full width of the screen, but doesn't fill the full height.) I was surprised to see the Voodoo3 was faster than the Rage128 Orion in this particular test, even though the 3Dfx beta drivers are not supposed to have any hardware acceleration for Quicktime movies.

MacBench tests: 44KHz 'Phantom Menace' movie
scaled to 1152x870 (full screen)
MacBench Movie tests

As shown above, the all the cards were within fairly closely matched in this test, however the Proformance 3 was the consistently a tiny bit faster. You'd not be able to spot the differences in performance in actual use. Image quality was also similar for all cards, at least to my eye.

All cards played the movie at the standard size with no dropped frames. Informal tests at 1024x768, thousands color mode with the movie scaled to full screen also showed no frames dropped with any of the 3 cards tested.

I also played by a sample MPEG movie from the Finder. None of the cards had any apparent dropped frames. Bottom line is that most any modern high-performance graphics card fed by a decent CPU probably performs equally well at movie playback for typical consumer use.

The next page has details on the software controls and hardware features.

Index of Formac Proformance 3 Review

Intro | 2D Performance | 3D Performance | Game Performance | Movie Playback | Controls/Design | Summary

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