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12/30/00 Saturday's News: Story DetailReturn to News Page
Voodoo3 Quake3 Performance Tests w/Beta9-Beta13
& Voodoo 4/5 Drivers:

First Published: 12/30/2000
Last Updated: 1/5/2000 for additional tests
Ryan Gould sent the results of his Quake3 tests with a Voodoo3 3000 PCI card in a G3 upgraded 7300 using nearly every ROM/driver combination from Beta9 to Beta13 (and including the Voodoo4/5 drivers up to 1.1.3 beta).
" 7300/200 powerlogix G3 @440MHz
288ram (non interleaved) virtual memory off
voodoo3 3000 PCI
os 9.0.4
opengl 1.2.1
quake 3 v1.17 (136megs ram allocated)
800x600 resolution

i was going to send you a report on using the new b13 rom with 112 and 113b but decided i'd waste a few precious hours and satisfy some curiosity that ive had for a long while. which means someone else probably had the same curiosity.. (i just wish i had the patience to do all of this again for different opengl versions).

rom map   fps  driver-version

b09 demo1 46.7 v3   b09
b09 demo2 47.6 v3   b09
b09 demo1 46.5 v3   b10
b09 demo2 47.0 v3   b10
b09 demo1 46.3 v3   b11
b09 demo2 46.9 v3   b11

b10 demo1 46.6 v3   b09
b10 demo2 47.5 v3   b09
b10 demo1 46.5 v3   b10
b10 demo2 47.0 v3   b10
b10 demo1 46.3 v3   b11
b10 demo2 47.2 v3   b11

b11 demo1 46.4 v3   b09
b11 demo2 46.9 v3   b09
b11 demo1 46.7 v3   b10
b11 demo2 47.5 v3   b10
b11 demo1 46.1 v3   b11
b11 demo2 46.7 v3   b11

b12 demo1 46.2 v3   b12
b12 demo2 47.3 v3   b12
b12 demo1 45.2 v3   b13
b12 demo2 45.5 v3   b13
b12 demo1 45.7 v4/5 101
b12 demo2 46.4 v4/5 101
b12 demo1 45.7 v4/5 108
b12 demo2 46.4 v4/5 108
b12 demo1 45.6 v4/5 112
b12 demo2 46.6 v4/5 112
b12 demo1 45.6 v4/5 113
b12 demo2 46.3 v4/5 113

b13 demo1 -    v3   b12
b13 demo2 -    v3   b12
b13 demo1 45.9 v3   b13
b13 demo2 46.5 v3   b13
b13 demo1 45.0 v4/5 101
b13 demo2 45.5 v4/5 101
b13 demo1 45.3 v4/5 108
b13 demo2 46.0 v4/5 108
b13 demo1 45.0 v4/5 112
b13 demo2 45.7 v4/5 112
b13 demo1 45.3 v4/5 113
b13 demo2 46.0 v4/5 113

i would have gone back further but, as you know, opengl wasn't supported before b9. missing items (or - items) aren't supported. i'm sure you can turn this into some cool graph.

I've graphed the results, but it's very wide so you man need to stretch your browser window.

Graph of results

OpenGL 1.1.2 vs OpenGL 1.2.1:
On 1/5/2000 another Voodoo3 owner sent results of tests with B11-B13 ROM/Drivers with OpenGL 1.1.2 vs OpenGL 1.2.1.

" After reading the report by Ryan Gould over the weekend on testing Quake 3 Arena with the various beta drivers/ROM combinations for a Voodoo 3 card I decided to to a little testing myself. I was still running the beta 11 ROM and drivers for my Voodoo 3/2000 running in a 7500 with a Sonnet 300/512 G3 upgrade card and 352MB built in RAM. I was also using OpenGL version 1.12 with OS 9.04. I didn't bother to reset my config file in Quake 3 so the numbers I have will not be very useful for direct comparisons with other Macs. They do provide interesting information on the differences between beta 11 and beta 13 as well as OpenGL 1.12 vs. 1.21. My config file is actually a customized version of a Locki config file tweaked to suit my preferences with a few items turned back on for playability. So the results are slightly slower than an unmodified Locki config. The same config file run in my Firewire Powerbook 400 (384MB RAM) will produce about 50.5 FPS.

Here is a breakdown of the three configurations I tested:

beta 11 ROM and drivers, OpenGL 1.12 average FPS: 34.5

beta 13 ROM and drivers, OpenGL 1.12 average FPS: 33.4

beta 13 ROM and drivers, OpenGL 1.21 average FPS: 33.7

My conclusion is that while the beta 13 Voodoo drivers cause a drop in speed, Apple's latest version of OpenGL will increase the speed. I'm sure there are other benefits of running beta 13 such as stability, improved OpenGL compatibility, and 2D performance that I would like to see over a period of time. I will eventually test these new drivers with other games that didn't work well under the beta 11 drivers to see if compatibility has improved. [Note: A reader noted the Voodoo3 B13 ROM allowed deep sleep mode on his G4 system, see the B13 feedback page for more details-Mike]

One interesting item to note is that on my Powerbook, I get a performance improvement of about 0.5 to 1.0 FPS by leaving Virtual Memory on. Virtual Memory causes a drop in performance for Quake 3 on the 7500/Voodoo 3. Unreal Tournament is faster on both machines with VM off.

One other interesting item to note. I had been curious about how the latest IBM Thinkpads with the 16MB ATi Rage Mobility cards stacked up against our year old Firewire Powerbooks with the 8MB ATi Rage Mobility so I did a direct comparison recently using the same Quake 3 config file used for the above tests. The IBM was a 750MHz Pentium with more RAM than my 400MHz Powerbook's 384MB. While I was able to get about 50.5 FPS average from my Powerbook (50.9 on one test), the IBM with almost double the CPU speed and twice the VRAM was able to only get 59.0 FPS average. So we can conclude that the latest and greatest IBM Thinkpads are probably only about as fast as last year's 500MHz Powerbook.
-Paul Woodford "

Those PB G3/400 Quake3 scores are much higher than I saw during my review of the PB G3/500, but that was with a earlier game version and OpenGL version. I suspect Paul may have a different config file as well. See the apps/game tests page of that revivew for my results.

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