Quake 2 Performance Conclusions
Under Quake 2, the more mature drivers of the Voodoo2/Voodoo3 keep nVidia out of the top ranks here. Keep in mind that the TNT2's drivers still have some growing to do before they can be considered final release candidates, whereas the Voodoo3 drivers are as close to final as they're going to get for the time being. On faster CPUs, such as the Pentium II 400 and the Pentium III 500, the TNT2 is not all that much slower than the Voodoo3, and its 32-bit rendering performance is great enough for most users to run under 32-bit rendering without complaining too much. Unfortunately, just as the original TNT was incredibly CPU dependent, the TNT2's competitive performance, particularly at higher resolutions and when rendering in 32-bit color, begins to drop on slower CPUs.
The difference between the 125MHz and the 150MHz (core) TNT2's is great enough to justify a user opting for the 150MHz or higher clocked parts, however on slower CPUs, the limiting factor ends up being the CPU, making the 150MHz TNT2 no different than its slower 125MHz counterpart.
Needless to say, under Quake 2, the TNT2 doesn't "smoke" the competition, nor does it fail miserably. Does anyone else see the same image quality vs performance argument emerging once again?