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Accelerate Your Mac! News Archive for: 2/3/2001 Saturday's NewsReturn to Accelerate Your Mac!

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Top stories of Feb. 3rd, 2001:

Reality Check: 150FPS on a GeForce2MX at 1280x1024?
A reader commented recently that a rumors site had a note that a dual G4/733 system with Altivec optimized Quake 3 and OS X ran over 150FPS with a GeForce2MX card at 1280x1024 with all options on. I doubt any regular readers here believe that, but just in case I wanted to interject some reality. At 1280x1024 I don't think there's any way that the a GeForce2MX card can run even near 75 FPS (let alone 150+). At that resolution the MX SDR card probably maxes out at under 50 FPS, not 3 times that.

I think someone probably sent that story as a joke, just to see if it would get posted. Anyone with any experience or knowledge of the GeForce2MX cards would know that it can't provide anywhere near those framerates at that resolution. Even the Nvidia top-of-the-line GeForce Ultra with 460MHz DDR RAM (more than twice the fill rate of the MX chip, as well as far higher video ram bandwidth). can't draw 150+ FPS at 1280x/1024 Quake3 with max quality settings. I'm talking AVG FPS from a demo - not a meaningless peak rate staring at a wall.

Remember the graphics card is like a funnel to the display - depending on its limits (fill rate, etc.) it doesn't matter how much data you pour in, the card can only draw so many frames per second. Altivec, CPU speed, etc. can't overcome the limits of the video card hardware. If the GeForce2MX card could deliver that kind of 1280x1024 performance, you'd see a flat FPS curve with it at that resultion in current systems. (I.E. -Similar FPS rates at 640x480 as at 1280x1024. A consistent FPS rate even as resolutions are increased shows the card has not reached its limits.) Instead, tests clearly show that FPS rates drop off as resolutions rise at the same quality settings/same CPU load. (This is true of any Mac card today, not just the GeForce2MX.)

I just checked a review at Tom's hardware of a GeForce2 Ultra (w/460MHz DDR RAM) on a 1GHz PC - in Quake3 HQ settings 1280x1024 32bit mode delivered 81.2 FPS. (Normal settings were 123fps). The MX card is a much lower performing card than the Ultra, especially at higher resolutions and most PC tests are done with sound disabled. Tom's GeForce2MX card tests on a 1GHz PC didn't even bother to test at over 1152 resolution, where 32bit/HQ Quake3 scores were under 45 FPS with a 1GHz PC. There's no way that any system is squeezing more than 3 times that FPS from a GeForce2MX SDR card.

I don't believe that 150FPS+ at 1280x1024 resolution comment from a GeForce2MX card for a minute and I doubt you do either. You can't force that kind of performance from a MX card regardless of how much data you're pumping to it. I could post stories like that for 'feel good' effect or as traffic bait, but I'd not want to insult your intelligence (and make you wonder if I knew anything about graphics cards).

BTW - one other thing is how can they test Altivec enhanced Q3 when Graeme says he can't finish it due to a compiler bug which is still not fixed last I heard.

Although I don't expect 150FPS at 1280x1024/32 with any graphics card or system available now, as noted here Jan 31st, Graeme Devine has said that Altivec enhanced Quake3 was "awesome" and it made a "super computer power difference in application[s] that support it". I have also heard great things about (non-beta) OS X's OpenGL as well. Combine Altivec Quake3 with OS X, and G4 system owners (especially duals) should see a significant gain at resolutions where the video card is not the bottleneck. Even single G4 systems running OS 9 should see a nice boost. It's great to see more consumer level software take advantage of the G4.

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File Fone Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Util Beta Release
Black Diamond Products today announced the release of the first public beta of its new peer-to-peer file sharing program FileFone for both PC and Mac. (From the press release)

FileFone is a "phone" for sending and receiving files over the internet. It allows you to call another FileFone user using his/her IP address to send a file. FileFone:

* Works peer-to-peer with no central server of any kind
* Has independent send and receive lines, allowing you to receive a file while sending one
* Is extremely simple to set up and run
* Allows you to accept or reject incoming transfers
* Can be set to receive files unattended
* Maintains a list of favourite destinations
* Has configurable text, allowing easy translation or customisation
* Resumes broken transfers
* Is available for Mac and PC and works between them
* Allows extensive customisation of the user interface ( skins )
* Stores a retry list of any failed or rejected transfers
* Has attractive inbuilt help facilities

FileFone is shareware, priced at $20 for a single user license and $30 for a two-license Correspondent Pack. To read more, to see some screenshots, or to download the trial version, go to: http://www.blackdiamond.co.za/.

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PB G4 or 2001 G4 Owners - Enter Your Performance Test Results Here:
Any owners of new 2001 G4 Macs and PowerBook G4 systems are encouraged to enter their benchmark and game performance test results in the Mac System/Video Card Performance database. Both 2001 G4 (and Radeon or GeForce2MX) and PowerBook G4 are options on the entry page. Enter your results with any of the game titles or benchmarks listed on the entry page (details on how to test are there).

If you're curious how a CPU upgrade or new Video card (or new system) would compare in a game or benchmark, use the search page. If you only select a Game/Benchmark (leaving all other options blank), you'll see Fastest to slowest performance results with system/video card/CPU details, or you can limit searches to just specific criteria like System, or video card, or CPU type/speed, etc.

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PowerBook Forums Added:
It's something I've been meaning to do for some time, but I finally added a PowerBook/iBook area to our message board/forums site. If there's enough interest, I could make a separate PowerBook G4 forum.
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Western Mod for Quake3:
A post in the game forums here noted there's a western conversion mod for Quake 3 that's Mac compatible. Here's a clip from a reader whose played it with Mac Quake3:

"... I downloaded it a few days ago (you can get it here: http://www.planetquake.com/westernq3 ) and love it. I wish it loved my machine though. My frame rates probably average in the low 20's(beige G3@400mhz, 320mb, and V5) ....

For those that aren't familiar with the Western Mod, it is a mod that that gives you a whole new game. Basically, it takes you back to the 1800's, with old western style towns and weapons (old six shooters, double barrel shotguns, and Winchesters) and games where you have death matches or team games where you might need to rob a bank and so on. One interesting thing about this mod is that there are no power up's or no way to improve your health. You are also limited in the variety of weapons you can carry. For a game, it's fairly realistic.
Rook"

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Rogue Spear Review:
Today's Reader's Rate Their Mac Games database updates included a review of Rogue Spear. The author liked the game, but noted some problems with net play and audio quirks.

Game Title: Rogue Spear

Reviewer's Name: Jee Hoon Lee
Date Submitted: 2/2/2001
Processor (CPU) Type: G4
Processor (CPU) Speed: 400Mhz to 499Mhz
Graphics Card: ATI Rage128 PRO
MacOS Version: OS 9.1
RAM Configuration: More than 128MB

Value Ratings (On a scale of 1 to 5):
Gameplay: 5   Graphics: 4   Sound: 3   Controls: 4   Value: 4

Best Features: Great immersive play that has something for everyone: tactics, strategic planning, and high speed first person action mode using stealth and cunning to hunt down terrorists--the tension can be intense when roaming a big map to finish off an opponent (music seems to swell when one turns a blind corner or enters a darkened room-nice touch); a wide variety of great maps and weapons; worth the buy for multi-player action alone. An alternative for those who want to play a first-person shooter with a more realistic style.

Worst Features: Audio is finicky on stereo speakers, being muffled at times and too loud at other times--played with settings to no avail. Sounds better with headphones.

Multi-Player is too unstable! Seems to lock up often or hold on blank screens for too long with no indication of activity. Frustrating to get a decent game going at times. Obviously, fast Internet connections and a high-power Mac are recommended, but it shouldn't bomb out so easily.

Overall Summary: All in all, a great game. The single player is fun, but the multi-player possibilities are great--except for the crashing. Gameranger is cool but it will be nicer once more Mac RS players get online. Runs smooth on a stock Sawtooth G4/400 I reviewed this on, but is a bit choppy on my own 9600 upgraded to a Powerlogix Zforce G3/400 with ATI Nexus 128.

Also, I can't seem to host from behind a transparent firewall. Client works fine. There's no mention of this in the documentation I can find. I hope there is a workaround.



Total reviews including all titles is 720. Since each review entry also notes system details like CPU type/speed, RAM and Video card type, these reviews are also good to see how well games play on various Mac models and video cards (important to know before you buy). If you've not already done so enter a game review.

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2001 G4 System Comments, Toast Bootable CD Tips, More:
Peter Chin sent comments and observations on his new G4/533 system:

"Mike,
Just thought I'd mention a few things about the G4/533 not mentioned in the review you posted.

* It comes with System Software 9.1, CD Version 1.0.1.

* Toast Deluxe 4.1.2 recognizes the built-in CD-RW as a Sony model and works perfectly. Anyone who wants to make a startup CD should be careful to make sure they use at least the System suitcase, Finder, and most current Mac OS ROM file (v.6.7.1) if they want it to be bootable. Additionally, you can get away with burning a session instead of the whole CD and still have it bootable so long as you include a valid System Folder in the very first session.

* After reading the manual, I finally figured out what those two buttons are on either side of the Pro Mouse- they're to simulate a 'click and hold' should you get to the edge of your mouse pad with the mouse down.

* Didn't get to do too much testing, but RAVEBench clocked 102 fps max in the default Triangles window and got up to 96-98 fps in the default spinning VillageTronix logo window. Ran fine with ONI demo; I couldn't find any of the 'seams' I usually see if it's on an older G3/G4/500 or a PowerBook G3. Have to try Elite Force tonight.. a WORLD of difference from the old 603e / ATI Rage Pro combo I used to have.

* QuickTime 5.0b8 seems to support the card fine, although I haven't (yet) tested any huge movies.

* Although Apple didn't list it in their manual, the Sony drive seems to be perfectly compatible with VideoCD's played through QuickTime Player. VCD's played very smoothly even in a window and at fullscreen (I was using 1024 * 768.)

* Hitting the Media Eject key will open the CD drawer even if there isn't a CD inside, saving you from having to reach over to open the CD drive and hitting that annoying little nubby button on the front panel.
--
Pete"

If you missed it, see Dave Linder's full review of a G4/533 system with GeForce2 card. Part 2 even covers DVD playback (he swapped out the CDRW for a DVD ROM drive for testing.)

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Virtual PC 4 vs VPC 3 Test Results (Reminder)
A reader post in the forums and several emails recently have asked about Virtual PC version 4 vs version 3. See the tests ran on VPC 4 here at the Misc. articles page, software section. There are several articles there with test results of VPC 3 vs VPC 4 on a PB G3/500 and a G4 (as well as comparisons to a real PC). In Norton SI tests, it was up to 3x faster and there is much better Altivec support. Downside is 3d hardware acceleration is removed from VPC 4 (no support for Voodoo1/Voodoo2 cards anymore - see the article with Connect's comments for details on why).
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Today's Active Forum Topics:
Click here to see a list of today's active topics on the forums.
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Recent Reviews and Articles:
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Summary of 1/29/2001 to 2/02/2001 News and Reviews
2/2/2001 Friday's News
2/1/2001 Thursday's News
1/31/2001 Wednesday's News
1/30/2001 Tuesday's News
1/29/2001 Monday's News


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