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Review: Formac's Proformance 3
By Mike
Review date: 9/16/99
Software Controls and Hardware Specifications
Intro | 2D Performance | 3D Performance | Game Performance | Movie Playback | Controls/Design | Summary
Software Controls
The Proformance 3 drivers were a refreshing change from the norm in that only a Control Panel needs installing. During the first boot the a single Extension is created. As owners of many other Mac graphics cards now, often they install as many as half-dozen extensions.

As is typical with Formac cards in the past, their control software is top-notch and very complete. Overall I consider it the best of any Mac graphics card I've seen to date. The screenshots below of each of the Control Panel tabs illustrate the wide array of features and settings available. Most are self-explainatory but if you like you can download the Proformance 3 manual (6.9MB sit file)

(The About panel lists contact info and quick links to Formac's web site.)

(Generally the only setting you'd change here is enabling/disabling 3D glasses support)

(Window drag On keeps the window contents visible during dragging)

(The Information panel displays the card's software/firmware version and more.)

(My IBM P70 Trinitron monitor was not recognized but performed fine.)

(A myriad of gamma adjustments are available for graphics professionals.)

(An adjustable Font Cache is a unique feature of the Formac cards.)

(Integrated Screensaver options.)

(Zoom settings panel - selected resolution affects available Zoom factors.)

Software Versions: I used the following Formance Proformance 3 drivers/ROM for this review (the latest available at the time of test):

  • ROM: v1.9.9
  • Control Panel: GA v5.5.9

Hardware Specifications

Click for full size card image
           (click image for full size photo)

Formac Proformance 3 Specifications:

  • Graphics Engine: 128-bit Permedia 3 by 3Dlabs
  • 32-Bit 3D Engine/32-Bit Z-Buffer support
  • Dual Texture Processor (Multitexturing in a single pass)
  • 270 MHz RAMDAC
  • Unique Font Cache feature (adjustable 0-4MB)
  • Hardware pan and zoom
  • 16 MB of 8ns SDRAM (not expandable - 8MB version available)
       (estimated memory clock 120MHz)
  • Quicktime, Quickdraw 3D/RAVE acceleration (OpenGL drivers due soon)
  • Max res: 2D -2000 x 2000, Millions Colors, 85Hz
    3D -1280x1024 Millions Colors (1600x1200 in thousands colors)
  • VGA Monitor Connector only
  • LCD Shutter 3D Glasses support ($99 Option)
  • 66MHz and 33MHz PCI Slot Compatible
  • 1 Year Warranty

Requires: PowerPC Mac with available PCI slot, System 7.6 or higher. Although not specified, I'd suggest Quicktime 3.0 or later, and Quickdraw 3D 1.5.4 or later. 16 MB of RAM is required, since Quickdraw 3D requires 16 MB of RAM. (Quickdraw 3D is required or RAVE support.)

Application and Game requirements will vary as far as CPU and memory requirements. For best results with demanding games like Unreal and Falcon 4, I recommend 128MB or more of RAM and a G3 CPU.

Although the Proformance 3 does not seem to have the fill rate for games of the Voodoo3, it outperforms the only other current retail card in its class - the ATI Rage128 Orion. In general 2D performance it has no current equal. It costs a bit more, but graphics professionals will probably find that money is well spent. Gamers may want to wait to see what the OpenGL performance will be, but based on RAVE performance, I'd expect the card to at least equal the Rage128's OpenGL speed and probably surpass it. [Update - see the Game Performance page for first beta OpenGL game tests.] If you've got the slots and a 2nd monitor, add an under $100 Voodoo3 2000 card (after current rebate) and you have the best of both worlds.

A wrap-up of the review with details on availability is on the summary page.

Index of Formac Proformance 3 Review

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

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