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Product: 3D Prophet III
Company: Hercules
Estimated Street Price: $429.00
Review By: Julien Jay


Table Of Contents
1: Introduction
2: Features & Installation
3: Drivers & TV Output
4: GeForce 3 Explanations 1
5: GeForce 3 Explanations 2
6: GeForce 3 Explanations 3
7: Benchmarks
8: Conclusion

Now it is time to let the tests speak for themselves! Here is the detailed configuration of the PC we used to benchmark the Hercules 3D Prophet III:

  • Intel D850GB motherboard (with latest P10 bios) running 384Mb of PC800 ECC Rambus memory,
  • Pentium 4 1,5GHz,
  • Hard disks: IBM 76.8GB UDMA 100, Maxtor 45Gb UDMA 100, Maxtor 30Gb UDMA 66 (all the hard drives turn at 7200 rpm),
  • Supplementary Promise Ultra ATA 100 PCI IDE Controller,
  • Adaptec AHA 19160,
  • Sound Blaster Live! Platinum 5.1,
  • Creative DXR3,
  • Pinnacle Studio DV Plus, 
  • Internal Pioneer IDE UDMA 33 DVD Rom drive (16x/40x) & Toshiba DVD-Ram unit,
  • Yamaha CRW2100E Internal CD burner,
  • Iomega ZIP 250 SCSI and Iomega JAZ 2Gb SCSI,
  • Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro, Microsoft TrackBall Explorer,
  • Everything was running under Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition with Direct X 8.0a.

For the testing we made sure that no programs where running and did a clean Windows Boot by formatting the hard drive. The only programs that were running during the tests were Explorer & Systray. By doing so weíre making sure that performance would remain unaffected.

The first test is the great classic: Quake III Arena without any FSAA enabled. As you can see the various tests highlight a small advantage for the GeForce 3 but nothing revolutionary.


The second set of tests was done using the latest version 2001 of 3D Mark from the guys at MadOnion.Com. Here, the GeForce 3 beats its predecessors remarkably.

In the following test, the GeForce 3 reveals all its power and really holds its promises when you enable anti-aliasing modes. We ran the test under Quake III Arena. The 3D Prophet III performances, when enabling Quicunx mode are near the ones you get with the FSAA 2x mode.

As you may have noticed the 3D Prophet III leaves the Geforce II Ultra in the dust when you enable any kind of anti-aliasing filtering method, showing that nVidia really worked hard to provide users with a powerful anti-aliasing filter. Below are the results of the tests performed using Ziff Davis 3D WinBench 2000. Here, the GeForce 3 beats the GeForce 2 Ultra with a small advance but nothing really significant except in high resolution.


BenchMarks Analysis

As you can see, all the benchmarks we ran highlight a small performance gain over the previous kick ass GPU from NVIDIA, the GeForce II Ultra, and do not justify the cost of this new GPU. Most of the time the GeForce 3 GPU beats the GeForce II Ultra it is with such small advance that itís not worth to talk about discussing it. The worst thing is that on some configurations under Quake III the 3D Prophet III can be slower than the 3D Prophet II Ultra, so thereís really no interest for GeForce 2 Ultra owners to upgrade their graphics card to a GeForce 3 right now. On the other hand, the tests have shown that the 3D Prophet III reveals all its power when using games in high resolution like 1024x768x32bits (or higher) with HRAA enabled. In that case the 3D Prophet III totally surpasses and outperforms its predecessor: visual quality is definitely one step over the GeForce 2 ultra while speed in high resolutions has been widely improved. If the vertex shaders support is an awesome enhancement that makes the GPU almost malleable so it can adapt itself to developersí fantasies, thereís actually no application that supports it, so itís useless for the moment. But hopefully, vertex shaders will be massively used in the near future. The Hercules 3D Prophet III is like those good French wines: it needs to grow so it will become better over the time! In conclusion, these benchmarks donít allow us to conclude saying whether the GeForce 3 is a good or bad buy since one major problem really affects the performance; that is to say the drivers. Indeed as far as now the drivers are all beta versions, and thus arenít finished, dramatically affecting that way the performances of this new baby. If the product isnít mature yet, itís full of promises, and weíre convinced that the Geforce 3 will affirm itself as the ultimate 3D gaming & fragging machine in the next few months setting unprecedented new standard in terms of visual experience and performance.

ę GeForce 3 Explanations 3 Conclusion Ľ


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