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Creative Labs 3D Blaster GeForce 3 Ti200 review

 

Creative is one of the most recognized brands among PC enthusiasts especially because of its ever popular SoundBlaster line. They have also been major players in other areas such as Graphics products for quite some time, and although they retired from the Americas market a while ago, they have kept the 3D Blaster family alive in the European and Asian markets.

“NVIDIA GeForce 3 Technology gone mainstream”, as some would say, the 3D Blaster GeForce 3 Titanium 200 is based on one of NVIDIA’s latest chips; the Ti 200 is supposed to offer the best price/performance value, so let’s take a closer look to Creative’s offering.

 

Installation & Manual

Installation of the GeForce 3 was as hard as that of any other Graphics cards, that is, it wasn’t. I uninstalled my previous Graphics Cards drivers, shut down the PC & plugged it out from its power source. Opened up the case & removed the existing AGP Graphics card from the Motherboard. I then inserted into the GeForce 3 into the now free AGP slot & screwed it into place. The PC was then reconnected to the power source & was turned on.

Windows XP booted up normally and the Graphics card was detected by Plug & Play then installed the latest Official NVIDIA Drivers for the Graphics card itself when prompted.

The Manual that came with the Graphics card was a typical Quick Install guide. Nothing worth mentioning about it, really. Although no other Graphics cards I’ve used were particularly spectacular in that area either.

 

Feature Marketing

As I said earlier the GeForce 3 is a greater leap forward than the GeForce 2 was. In reality it's probably fair to say that it's a greater leap then the original GeForce itself was. The original GeForce was marketed as the first (Consumer level) T&L Graphics cards around & offering benefits of reduced CPU usage and vastly improved graphics quality.

Of course NVIDIA’s marketing department left out one minor detail about this. That being Feature Support, i.e. All these things hold true, but only if Developers actually support them.

Now as we know, support for the DirectX 7 T&L features of the GeForce 1 & 2 have been rather under-whelming to say the least & despite what NVIDIA’s

T&L Supporting Games list might have you believe most of these feature the absolute minimum of Hardware T&L support. For example, OpenGL by default supports Hardware Transform routines if available, there's no need for Developers to add support for it, it doesn't change visual quality & the performance benefits are minimal.

As we can see NVIDIA’s PR Department have done a great job promoting the GeForce range and no doubt many people did buy these Graphics Cards on the basis of what they thought T&L did. Now we come to the next major point - Feature Delay.

One of the main issues with supporting features like T&L is that of time. Developers simply can't add support for such features in a few days, more likely is that supporting such features would need to be considered & actively done from the start of the Game. This can be witnessed by the rise in T&L support in recent times since the launch of the GeForce.

Most importantly about this is what it means for the Hardware T&L features of the GeForce 3. How long before Games really support its features? There's no real conclusive answer to this yet, although I'd go with sooner than you might think. Certainly it will be supported a lot faster than the GeForce 1 & 2 was. Why? Microsoft's X-Box.

The X-Box uses a customized GeForce 3 chip for graphics. Developers as a result will be optimising especially for it as a result, no doubt this will also mean supporting the T&L features available. As a result it's quite safe to assume that any PC Ports of X-Box Games will be T&L optimized, more specifically DirectX 8 optimized.

 



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