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MacTell Vision 3D Pro II Video Card Review (1998)
2D Tests of the Vision 3D Pro II
Intro | 2D Performance  | 3D Performance | Game Performance  | Movie Playback | Features | Summary
2D Performance

The Vision 3D Pro II's Ticket 2 Ride chip provides outstanding 2D performance, the best of any Macintosh video card I've ever tested. I expected this as my PC version is also the king of 2D speed on that platform as well. Just like the chip before it, the Imagine II, color depth and resolution seem to have little effect on performance, unlike many other video cards where performance drops as resolution or color depth is increased.

The Vision 3D Pro II uses a 250mhz RamDac for high refresh rates, and features a heatsink on the RamDac - and excellent idea since they get quite hot. In fact, during my tests of the Imagine 128 Series II I was surprised at how hot the RamDac was after several hours, it would literally burn your skin. Good to see that the Vision 3D Pro II includes a heatsink on the chip. [The RamDac chip does the digital to analog conversion for displaying the digital video card framebuffer contents (ones and zeros) into a analog signal (variable voltage levels) that the monitor can display. The faster the RamDac, the higher the refresh rate it can provide, reducing flicker.]

For comparisons of 2D speeds, I used results from three cards in a similar price range tested in the same PowerTower Pro 180 - the ATI Nexus GA and IXMicro Ultimate Rez and #9 Imagine 128 Series 2 (for reviews of these cards click here.) I ran tests at both 1024x768, thousands colors and 1152x870, millions colors. The Vision 3D Pro II control panel font cache was left at the default 512k size and the "show window contents" (when dragging) was turned off during the tests. The MacBench 4.0 scores are shown below:

Thousands Colors Mode - 1024x768
Medium Res MB tests

For the medium resolution tests, I show comparisons of all three driver versions I tested, to illustrate that the latest Formac drivers (5.1.2) provided the best performance. Lo-res publishing tests were not run on the other cards, but I wanted to include it as it shows the latest driver is much faster in that test than previous versions.

Just for reference, I ran the same tests with the XLR8 G3/266mhz card at 322/214 (CPU speed/cache speed). For the first time I saw scores exceed 1000 for the Graphics test and 1100 for the low-res pub test.

G3 Med Res tests

Millions Colors Mode - 1152x870
High Res Macbench scores

When you compare the two graphs it's obvious the Vision 3D Pro II's performance is hardly affected by color depth or resolution. The true 128-Bit data path of the card (Graphics chip/data bus/RamDac) is one reason for this flat performance curve.

I also ran the same tests with the XLR8 G3/266mhz card at 322/214 (CPU speed/cache speed). Again the Graphics test score exceeded 1000 and the hi-res pub test score was 877, both record scores. A graph of the results is below:

G3 CPU test scores

Considering this is the fastest performance I've ever seen, I rated 2D Performance a 10.

Index of Vision 3D Pro II Review Pages

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

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Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved.
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