We hope you all had a chance to check out our coverage
of the Detonator 3 driver release this past Monday. For those of you who missed the article, we urge you to check it
out to learn more about the Detonator 3 drivers. Let's summarize what we learned in case you're not in the clicking mood.
NVIDIA has recently taken to the habit of releasing significant new drivers at the same time as they release new products.
When we say "significant," we're not talking about drivers changing from (hypothetically) 3.00 to 3.01; we're talking about
something like Detonator 2 vs. Detonator 3. The recent case in point was the release of the
GeForce2 Ultra, their GeForce2-on-steroids -
basically a GeForce2 chipset card with higher core GPU and memory clock speeds, resulting in what we saw as significant
performance gains in more strenuous video situations.
Free video upgrade
Hopefully, the habit of upgrading the drivers for the various components in your system is now as natural to you as remembering your
girlfriend and/or wife's birthday - sure, you might forget the first time, but after you get out of the hospital you'll be sure to
remember the next time. Although not as extreme, a driver upgrade can get you thinking about the reason why that one guy
named "Newbie" skunked you with a 10 - 0 score in Quake 3. Did he have a better aim? Was it his LAN ping? Or did he have more frames because of a newer driver
Seriously though, a good driver update has the potential to yield significant performance gains and feature add-ons. In some
cases, you'll see this directly translated as higher framerates. In other cases, there may be enhanced feature sets or brand-new
features. Best of all, driver updates are free!
Support for older products
For many of us who don't have those fancy, newfangled GeForce thangs, a driver update is just what we need to at least try to keep up with everyone else. In this article, we're going to take a look at how the new Detonator 3 drivers affect the performance
of the GeForce2 MX, the GeForce 256 SDR, and the venerable TNT2 Ultra. Additionally, people have been clamoring to see performance on an
older CPU, so we've dusted off our Celeron 400 for a little throwback action. It should be interesting to see how 3 different chips perform
using the new drivers.
Here's a quick peek at the official listing of new features, courtesy of NVIDIA:
Enhanced for the full range of Intel chipsets, including the i815, i820 and i840
Takes advantage of advanced CPU instruction sets, such as AMD's 3DNOW! and Intel's SSE and SSE2
Highly efficient blending modes implemented in both Direct3D and OpenGL
Reduced OpenGL driver call overhead over previous driver revisions
Improved OpenGL asynchronous command processing
Advanced vertex buffer support in Direct3D
Advanced vertex array support in OpenGL
Improved Direct3D texture management
Let's take a look at how these older chipsets are affected by the Detonator 3 drivers. One thing to note is that the Detonator 3
drivers in our previous article
are Detonator 3 release 6.16, a preview copy sent to review sites before the official release.
The official release drivers that were used in this article are release 6.18.