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ATI RagePro 3D, VR and MacTell Vision 3D Video Card Comparison
Review date: 4/26/98
Game Performance
Intro | 2D Performance  | 3D Performance | Game Performance  | Movie Playback | Features | Summary
Game Performance

Performance in 2D (Quickdraw) games was very good for all cards, except for an odd problem in Duke Nukem with the MacTell Vision 3D. Using Shadow Warrior (non-3Dfx version) speeds were as fast as any card I've tested, and even the MacTell card was very fast and had good image quality. These games typically run in 256 colors, and the framerate usually stayed in the high 20's to 40+ fps.

I did have problems in Rave Quake 1.08.5 with the MacTell card, it was unplayable due to severe problems with the display. I've not upgraded to the latest 1.09 version of Quake and the card is being returned now so I'll not have a chance to test it further. I do plan a follow-up with the ATI cards when I can (I beta test ATI drivers and have the cards for long term use).

Korea (the latest version of F/A-18 Hornet) was not tested due to time pressures but I'll update this page for results with the ATI cards when I can. Compared to the 3Dfx version, the standard Korea is not as nice however, missing transparent smoke and fog, and with much less impressive explosions from what I've seen in the past.

Rave Quake:
As has been true for some time, the RagePro ATI cards generally provide the best Rave Quake performance on the market. Only 3Dfx Quake looks better to me, and I have to say I was impressed with the visuals I saw running the RagePro cards this time. Rave Quake has come a long way I think.

I saw no texture problems at all with the ATI cards, although some owners have reported filtering issues in the forums. I was impressed with the quality of the visuals in the game.

I saw no differences in speed with the ATI controls set to standard or high quality as TimeDemo Demo 1 returned 16.9 fps on the PTP 180 (no tweaks) for both settings with the VR and 3D cards. They should perform similarly since they use the same graphics engine and have the same type/speed of SGRAM.

I was using Rave Quake v1.08.5 with 50 MB of RAM allocated to it. Without any command line or console changes it ran the timedemo demo 1 test at 16.9 fps on the PTP 180 with flames, filtering and shadows on. As mentioned the MacTell Virge card could not run the game due to a corrupted display.

Shadow Warrior:
All three cards ran the standard version of Shadow Warrior very well, even in 1024x768 resolution (256 color mode game). Speed was very good for all three cards, and even the MacTell card looked good in my opinion and was at least as fast as the ATI cards in this game. Due to the way textures and sprites are done (low res) in standard Shadow warrior, the higher resolutions don't look a lot better than lower resolutions. This is apparent when you get close to walls and sprites.

Duke Nukem 3D:
Although 3D is in the name, Duke is just a 2D, 256 color game (but a lot of fun). For some reason the Vision 3D card always had Duke about 20 feet off the ground. I can't explain this problem and since Shadow Warrior ran fine I don't understand why Duke was affected - they are similar game engines I think. (On the PC where the games originated, both games are based on 3D-Realms "Build" engine.) The ATI cards had no problems with Duke and had good framerates even in 800x600 mode.

I'm beginning to worry about how universal Rave games really are, or maybe this is just another case of a Rave drivers not being mature (the Vision 3D is a fairly new card). Regardless, this makes the the 3rd card I've tested with problems in Rave Quake. Possibly later revisions to the Virge driver or Quake will help. I do caution Virge chip based cards owners to not expect great 3D game performance, based on what I've seen of the chip on both platforms.

Based on my tests with several games, I rated game performance of each card as follows:

  • ATI Xclaim 3D: 9
  • ATI Xclaim VR: 9
  • MacTell Vision 3D: 6

For the target market of these cards, game performance is probably important. Overall the ATI cards were a much better choice for games, especially those like Rave Quake.

The next tests I ran dealt with movie playback.

Index of ATI RagePro 3D, VR and MacTell Vision 3D Review

Intro | 2D Performance  | 3D Performance | Game Performance  | Movie Playback | Features | Summary

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Copyright © Mike, 1998.

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