Eight different chipsets, 4 tests, 3 resolutions, 2 processors, 1 winner...
...all on a Socket-7 Motherboard

"Out with the old and in with the new, it is this spring cleaning attitude that drives the markets we so dearly scrutinize during every minute of our dedicated hobby time.  When referring to the newest automobiles, the latest fashion trends, or even the most popular music, parting with the old and heading towards the world of the new is relatively easy and painless (unless, of course, you have that pair of 70's style socks you just can't bring yourself to get rid of).   Unfortunately, many of us are blessed with a hobby that not only changes at a rate barely faster than the market can handle, but at the same time, a hobby whose maintenance costs prohibit the mindless process of trial and error when it comes to which parts to add to your collection.  

The hobby in question is none other than that associated with being a PC hardware enthusiast.  While the title itself seems good enough to qualify as a previous employer entry on a job application, a hardware enthusiast usually has to face the facts and utter the phrase "out with the old and in with the new" every now and then; and when that time comes, the wallet is the first to suffer.   In looking towards the new, we usually forget about the differences between the new and the old, and since the budget of the average hardware enthusiast doesn't include the cost of every single product on the market, a roundup of all products up to the current generation is necessary  to keep in touch with the past while concentrating on the present.

In this particular case, one of the most rapidly evolving factions of PC hardware, Video Accelerators, have become the topic for much discussion among enthusiasts and casual users alike.  What card is best for me?   What are the real differences between all of the next generation chipsets?   And the most frequently asked question, what kind of performance improvements can I expect over my current video card?"

...and so began the AnandTech October 1998 Video Accelerator Comparison as the best of the best as well as the previous champs were ready to go head to head in the Slot-1 world of the Pentium II and the Celeron.   Unfortunately, money doesn't grow on trees, and not all of us can afford high end Pentium II systems, the low-cost alternative?  No, not the cacheless Celeron or the overclocker's dream, the Celeron A, rather the long since forgotten, Socket-7 platform.   If nVidia, 3Dfx, S3, and Matrox are all they really claim to be, they should be able to succeed in any situation, right?  Wrong. 

As you're about to find out, the giants of the industry are about to get a dose of reality in three dimensions when AnandTech explores the past, the present and the future of 3D gaming on Socket-7 systems.  Without further ado, let's get started with a little refresher on the areas for judging a video accelerator...

An Evolving Socketed World

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