Hey, that's not fair!
Diamond doesn't want the Viper II to be compared to the GeForce, and we think Diamond's argument is perfectly reasonable. The Viper II isn't in the same market segment as the GeForce. A quick trip to a couple price search engines shows us that the Viper II can be had for $50-$100 less than the average GeForce 256 SDR board. Clearly, it would be unfair for us to compare one card against another that is %35 to %65 more expensive.
Then again, if we were to look at the product specifications for both cards we have to ask why shouldn't we compare both cards? They both feature hardware T&L and have similar texel fill rates. If we ignore price, a performance comparison between the GeForce and Viper II must be made because the specifications for both chips are very similar.
Only three graphics companies released new cards for the current market cycle. S3 came out with the Savage2000, the chip powering the Viper II. ATI released the Rage Fury MAXX, a dual chip solution, and NVIDIA released the GeForce 256. Of these products, only the Savage2000 and GeForce 256 are completely new single mega-chip solutions. This situation begs for a comparison.
This article originally started out as a simple Viper II driver performance update. Diamond released
new Viper II drivers, and we wanted to give readers a 3D performance update. After we ran the numbers, the question came up of what card to put the Viper II up against. The GeForce 256 SDR automatically came to mind. It's the perfect comparison.
We'll keep the performance comparison fairly simple. Our only tests for this article are Quake 3 and Unreal. The T&L testing methodology in synthetic benchmarks like 3DMark2000 and 3D Winbench 2000 are currently in question, and we'll refrain from using those benchmarks in this comparison article. Hopefully, we'll be able to get the testing details worked out with the guys at MadOnion and ZDBOP.