3D Windows Performance Comparison - PCI vs AGP - 3D Winbench97

When it was originally introduced, AGP was pointed out as being a high end 3D solution for desktop PCs, and as you might be able to tell from the above scores, that does hold true. Completely shattering the competition, the ATI 3D Rage Pro based AGP card achieved a 3D Score over two times greater than the Matrox Millennium II which supposedly improved on the lack of 3D capabilities in the original Millennium. However, one must take into consideration that not all of the 3D features used by the 3D Winbench 97 Test Suite are supported by the Matrox Millennium II, in fact most of the features aren't supported and therefore caused the Millennium II to produce a few awful scores when compared to the ATI card, which supports all but one of the 3D features used. In order to clear up the confusion as to which specific 3D features were used, below is a list comparing the features supported and used by the ATI 3D Rage Pro to those of the Matrox Millennium II.

Supported 3D Features - PCI vs AGP
Feature ATI 3D Rage Pro (AGP) Matrox Millennium II (PCI)
3D Quality/Fog Vertex Capable Not Capable
3D Quality/Fog Table Not Capable Not Capable
3D Quality/Specular Highlights Capable Not Capable
3D Quality/Color Key Transparency Capable Not Capable
3D Quality/Alpha Transparency Capable Not Capable
3D Quality/Linear Capable Not Capable
3D Quality/Mipmap Linear Capable Not Capable
3D Quality/Dithering Capable Not Capable
3D Quality/Perspective Correction Capable Not Capable
3D Quality/Fog Vertex and Color Key Capable Not Capable
3D Quality/Fog Vertex and Alpha Capable Not Capable

Does this explain the difference in the performance of the ATI 3D Rage Pro when compared to the Matrox Millennium II under 3D Winbench 97? Simply put, yes! Although there are still quite a few more variables influencing the performance of the AGP card over the PCI card in 3D Windows situations, the supported 3D features list of the AGP card considerably outnumber those of the inferior PCI card. How does this effect the individual tests of 3D Winbench 97? Take a look at the below comparisons:

3D Winbench 97 - PCI vs AGP
Test ATI 3D Rage Pro (AGP) Matrox Millennium II (PCI)
3D WinMark/ 1/Stations1,N,2 56.9 27.9
3D WinMark/ 2/Race Track,N,6,T 28.7 22.5
3D WinMark/ 3/Chapel,N,6 8.97 8.85
3D WinMark/ 4/Stations2,L,2 34.5 7.76
3D WinMark/ 5/Stations3,L,2,S 25.7 6.61
3D WinMark/ 6/Islands,L,6,T,F 7.96 1.04
3D WinMark/ 7/Chapel,L,6 8.95 3.99
3D WinMark/ 8/Islands,NML,6,T 10.2 1
3D WinMark/ 9/Chapel,NML,6 8.89 0.746
3D WinMark/10/Stations4,NML,2 13.6 0.993
3D Triangle/640x480x8, Flat    
5 Pixel Triangle Setup 539 219
50 Pixel Triangle Setup 533 209
50 Pixel Triangle Fill 26.7 10.5
1000 Pixel Triangle Fill 76 197
3D Triangle/640x480x16, Flat    
5 Pixel Triangle Setup 538 220
50 Pixel Triangle Setup 539 209
50 Pixel Triangle Fill 26.9 10.4
1000 Pixel Triangle Fill 76 197
3D Triangle/640x480x16, Gouraud    
5 Pixel Triangle Setup 544 192
50 Pixel Triangle Setup 545 182
50 Pixel Triangle Fill 27.2 9.11
1000 Pixel Triangle Fill 76 49
3D Triangle/640x480x8, Z,Flat    
5 Pixel Triangle Setup 538 215
50 Pixel Triangle Setup 539 206
50 Pixel Triangle Fill 26.9 10.3
1000 Pixel Triangle Fill 76 195
3D Triangle/640x480x16, Z,Flat    
5 Pixel Triangle Setup 505 189
50 Pixel Triangle Setup 349 181
50 Pixel Triangle Fill 17.4 9.05
1000 Pixel Triangle Fill 45 26.6
3D Triangle/640x480x16, Z,Gouraud    
5 Pixel Triangle Setup 505 170
50 Pixel Triangle Setup 349 164
50 Pixel Triangle Fill 17.5 8.21
1000 Pixel Triangle Fill 45 26.5

In most cases the ATI card smoked the PCI Millennium II, however there are a few areas, particularly when dealing with Triangle Fills of 1000 pixels. The only explanation for this being that an excellent design cannot be beat even if a superior technology is used, now a comparison of a Matrox Millennium II AGP and a Matrox Millennium II PCI could prove to give this new technology a fair chance.

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