What should I buy?
The next generation video card questions are already starting to trickle into all our FS mailboxes. Should I get the Savage2000 or the GeForce 256? What can you tell me about 3dfx's new product? Should I wait for ***** card, or should I just buy the GeForce? Which card is the best? Which card will give me the best framerates in Quake3? We can tell you right now that we won't be able to answer any of these questions until we get our hands on final silicon for all the cards and test them with finished drivers, but we can try to make guesses by looking at the spec sheets.
As you may already know, S3 and Nvidia both announced their upcoming 3D cards last week. S3 announced the Savage2000 last Monday, and worked with a couple S3 fansites and a few general hardware sites (including ours) to have previews ready for the product announcement. The Savage2000 generated plenty on interest, but Nvidia quickly took the limelight away from S3 by starting their hype on their next generation product that same day.
NVIDIA placed a message on its front page stating: "In less than x hours, the world will change…" All the major community news sites immediately picked up on the Nvidia countdown, and 3D enthusiasts tossed aside the Savage2000 and started wondering what Nvidia had behind door number two.
Product Announcements 101
Nvidia's product announcement was very impressive to say the least. The website countdown generated an incredible amount of interest. Nvidia's reputation along with a promise to "change the world" was enough to make gamers drool in anticipation. That very night we dispatched Calbear down to Palm Springs to attend the Nvidia GeForce Press Conference
at the Intel Developers Forum.
Nvidia gave a very polished presentation with a great technology demonstration involving many high profile games such as Halo and Experience. The web press coverage was incredible. Sites just ate up all the screenshots and white papers. Nvidia won the press match with the help of game developers and screenshots.
Where did S3 go wrong? We're not sure if S3 was actually ready to announce the Savage2000 last Monday. Maybe S3 heard through the grapevine that Nvidia was announcing at IDF, and S3 wanted to take away some of Nvidia's thunder. That didn't leave them much time to put together a solid launch. Then again, perhaps S3 isn't used to making big product announcements, but you can bet they've learned from this experience.
Beyond the Hype
Nvidia may have taken a large portion of 3D consumer mindshare with its successful product announcement, but the astute hardware enthusiast will wait to see how all the different next generation cards perform before deciding which card is the best.
We wanted to compare the next generation cards to see how they stack up against each other on paper. We'll concentrate on the Savage2000 and the GeForce 256 because the specs for those cards are already available, and we were able to get an interview with S3's Paul Crossley and Raja Koduri. We'll also speculate a little on 3dfx's next generation product. Keep in mind that this article is purely conjectural. None of these cards have been released, and we won't know their true performance until we actually test the cards.