Evaluating Image Quality

Image quality testing was something we felt deserved some attention in this roundup, in order to determine which GeForce3 product produces the best 2D image quality. Many have been complaining about the "poor" 2D image quality of NVIDIA video cards, an aspect that is sure to vary between manufacturers.

To test the image quality of the cards in this roundup, we hooked each card up to a Sony F500 21" monitor using BNC cables. Image quality of the card was then recorded by two separate people, using the cards we had seen before as a reference point. Although the test was subjective, we were able to draw conclusions from the results and rate each card on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being the best and 5 being the worst.

Image quality was evaluated by reading white text on a black background at both 1600x1200x32 at an 85Hz refresh rate as well as at 1800x1400x32 at a 70Hz refresh rate. Image quality was described as "sharp", "somewhat sharp", "somewhat blurry", and "blurry but readable", with subtle difference between cards noted in a description of the image quality.

We described the image quality of each GeForce3 card we looked, choosing to also include an ASUS GeForce2 MX, ATI Radeon DDR, and Matrox G450 eTV video card for comparisons sake. We then used the 1 to 5 scale to rate each GeForce3 card as well as the three other cards tested.

Of the non-GeForce3 cards tested, the Matrox G450 eTV set the standard with a score of 1, indicating that it provided the best 2D image quality. The GeForce2 MX, on the other hand, provided a reference point for poor image quality, earning a score of 5. The ATI Radeon DDR scored a 2 in our subjective test. The score of each individual GeForce3 product is noted in the summary table of the card in the "Image Quality" row.

To make the scores easier to understand, we associated a description with each number. 1 got "best", 2 got "good", 3 got "moderate", 4 got "poor", and 5 got "bad".

Overclocking the Memory The Test

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