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Review date: 5/23/98
Evaluation of 3D performance was based on using the cards in several real world 3D applications and a series of benchmarks to provide more accurate comparisons of performance than my "seat of the pants" judgements from using standard programs. As with the Ultimate Rez, 3D is the achilles heel of the card. Although performance is fine for casual work in most apps, if 3D/Games are your primary use the ProRez is not a card I could recommend. If you primarily need 3D only for games, pairing this card with a 3Dfx card (like the Power3D) would make a nice combination that addresses both 2D speed and games.
In Infini-D and Ray Dream at 1024x768, thousands colors modes, I have yet to see a marked difference in 3D performance between cards with simple models and the default camera view window size. Larger windows and/or more complex models would probably show different results. This is all based on observations and "feel" in normal use, since the speed of rendering a scene is primarily dependent on the speed of the CPU.
For those looking to get the best 3D application performance, make sure you have the fastest CPU you can afford and lots of ram in addition to a good graphics card. No graphics card can turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.
NewTek has said they are sending a evaluation copy of Inspire and LightWave 3D for use in my video card tests. In the future I will use them for performance and compatibility testing of all graphics cards.
Although I've yet to see any huge differences between the 3D hardware accelerated video cards (with proper drivers) in 3D applications, I do have an appreciation for the texture mapping they provide when used with a fast CPU card. That combination really makes a big difference in productivity, just don't expect a video card alone to make a huge improvement with a slower CPU speed system.
I used Village Tronic's RaveBench 1.1.1 as both a benchmark and visual features check of the card. It runs several tests of texture mapping, transparency, movement, and environment mapping functions. Although all cards supported all the features when the tests were run one by one, the RaveBench automatic test run would skip several tests on the ProRez card as "not supported", although manually running the same tests showed that they would run, with slightly lower quality images than some other 3D cards. As stated previously, the ProRez 3D performance was disappointing and my tests showed that actual acceleration provided by the IXMicro hardware/Rave driver varied according to function selected. For Rave performance, nothing I've seen in the price range compares to the ATI RagePro cards (although the ProRez was much faster at 2D).
Charts below show several comparisons at the 640x480 test size. I show two graphs, one of how the ProRez compares to the ATI XClaim 3D (RagePro) in thousands color mode and another showing performance in millions colors between the Apple Rave software driver and the IXMicro Rave hardware assisted driver. Millions colors mode was required for that test as the ProRez Rave driver does not support thousands colors mode.
Hardware vs Software assisted Rave Performance
(1024x768, millions colors)
Again, the above tests had to be run in millions color mode instead of the usual thousands colors due to the ProRez driver not having support for thousands color mode. The framerates were the lowest values observed during a 60 second run of each test. It was interesting to see that the ATI RagePro performed about as well in millions color mode as thousands colors at this resolution.
For a explanation of RaveBench's tests, see my Illustrated Guide to RaveBench.
I list the lowest framerate seen in the rotation of the scene, as that indicates how the card handles the toughest part of the scene.
The minimum framerates seen in two 360 degree spins for each of the three Walker scenes is shown below, with several other popular cards shown for comparison:
- ProRez: 5.81 fps
- Xclaim 3D: 8.11 fps
- Xclaim VR: 8.33 fps
- Vision 3D: 6.67 fps
- Vision 3D Pro II: 4.29 fps (driver 5.1.2)
- 3D Overdrive: 6.00 fps
- Nexus GA: 8.00 fps
- ProRez: 6.32 fps
- Xclaim 3D: 9.38 fps
- Xclaim VR: 9.38 fps
- Vision 3D: 7.74 fps
- Vision 3D Pro II: 5.81 fps (driver 5.1.2)
- 3D Overdrive: 7.06 fps
- Nexus GA: 9.38 fps
- ProRez: 7.27 fps
- Xclaim 3D: 12.73 fps
- Xclaim VR: 12.73 fps
- Vision 3D: 9.38 fps
- Vision 3D Pro II: 9.09 fps (driver 5.1.2)
- 3D Overdrive: 9.68 fps
- Nexus GA: 12.73 fps
In summary, 3D performance was disappointing and trailed all the other cards I've tested. Based on what I saw running the ProRez in the PTP 180 on these tests, I rated 3D performance a 5.
The next page shows results I had running several popular games.
Index of IXMicro ProRez Graphics Card Review
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