The Founding Father - The Long Lost Verite

If you remember back to the first days of the 3D accelerator hype, the Rendition Verite V1000 chipset was often considered the founding father of this race for the best.  Who would've guessed that the world of Voodoo2's and TNT's evolved from a chipset most of the recently added passengers on the video accelerator bandwagon never knew existed.  Inspiring such creations as the 3Dfx Voodoo, Rendition's own successor to their success story, the V2x00 had its 15 minutes of fame when the rush to find the Voodoo killer took place not too long ago. 

The strengths of the V2x00 include support for resolutions up to 800 x 600, performance greater than that of the 3Dfx Voodoo, as well as image quality that is much more than decent, even by today's standards.   Unfortunately the performance issues and its not-so-great future outlook will keep the V2x00 on the same track of retirement as the 3Dfx Voodoo.  If you're looking to upgrade from a V2x00, you probably don't want to walk down the path of the Voodoo2 due to the image quality, the ideal step in your journey away from the V2x00 will probably lie in the realm of the Riva TNT or maybe the final chipset of this comparison, the S3 Savage3D.  

A Nice Try - The S3 Savage3D

Promises of Voodoo2 levels of performance at a $100 price level, outstanding quality, and incredible driver support were left unanswered by S3 with their latest concoction, the Savage3D.  When AnandTech reviewed the initial revision of the Savage3D, those promises were made, and when AnandTech took another look at the final revision of the Savage3D and its drivers, those promises seemed to fade away into the horrendous looking fog present in games such as Unreal courtesy of S3's horrible OpenGL drivers. 

If you're looking for something in the price range of the Savage3D, you're better off getting a 3Dfx Banshee, or coughing up the extra cash and picking up a Riva TNT.  While S3 has some interesting technology on their hands with the Texture Compression the Savage3D supports, the immediate effects of that technology has yet to be seen as the current selection of gaming titles doesn't take much advantage of the Savage3D's texture compression.  In the future the Savage3D may become a better product, however for now, it is a pre-teen chipset trying desperately to make its way into adolescence, and definitely not a choice for the right video accelerator for the masses until it gets a decent OpenGL ICD to start with. 

What can we look forward to from the Savage3D?   Well the crusher.dm2 benchmarks show that the Savage3D can easily handle immense amounts of data as the Crusher benchmark tests just that by overflowing the bus with explosions, textures, and more with its simulation of the worst-case scenario in terms of performance.  In the future, with more mature drivers, we can expect the Savage3D to possibly replace the 3Dfx Banshee especially since the Savage3D boasts a fairly decent image quality in comparison to the Banshee, but not on par with that of the Matrox G200.   A nice try at redemption after 3 years of virtually idle production time, however it would've been better had S3 not jumped the gun on releasing a chipset that wasn't ready for introduction by a long shot.

nVidia Riva 128 & Riva TNT Chipset Comparison Chart

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