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NVIDIA RIVA TNT Detonator Drivers

Introduction

Since the release of their OpenGL driver for the RIVA 128, NVIDIA has been regarded for their ability to tweak their drivers to get extra performance. On February 8th, 1999, NVIDIA released a new set of RIVA TNT drivers. Along with this release was a claim of a 30% increase in performance. Do these drivers really improve performance? If so, by how much?

The Numbers

Incoming 16-bit

 
STB Velocity 4400
ELSA ERAZOR II
STB Velocity 4400 w/ Detonator Drivers
640x480
84.18 84.49 74.39
800x600
72.89 69.44 73.35
1024x768
46.81 44.42 55.03
Interestingly, the 640x480 score on the Detonator drivers is strangely low. However, there is a significant gain in 1024x768 when using the new drivers.

Incoming 32-bit

 
STB Velocity 4400
ELSA ERAZOR II
STB Velocity 4400 w/ Detonator Drivers
640x480
65.3 64.83 70.24
800x600
43.48 43.07 48.14
1024x768
26.11 26.18 31.35
These results show another strong point of the new drivers, 32-bit performance.
 

Quake II Demo1.dm2 16-bit

 
STB Velocity 4400
ELSA ERAZOR II
STB Velocity 4400 w/ Detonator Drivers
640x480
72.7 73 73.2
800x600
58.9 56.7 61.1
1024x768
38.1 36.8 40
1152x864
30.7 29.5 31.9

Quake II Crusher.dm2 16-bit

 
STB Velocity 4400
ELSA ERAZOR II
STB Velocity 4400 w/ Detonator Drivers
640x480
37 37 44.1
800x600
36.3 35.8 42.5
1024x768
30.4 29.1 32.8
1152x864
25.6 24.4 26.9

Quake II Demo1.dm2 32-bit

 
STB Velocity 4400
ELSA ERAZOR II
STB Velocity 4400 w/ Detonator Drivers
640x480
60.1 55.8 60.6
800x600
41.7 38.9 48.8
1024x768
25 23.5 29.5
1152x864
20.4 19.3 23.1

Quake II Crusher.dm2 32-bit

 
STB Velocity 4400
ELSA ERAZOR II
STB Velocity 4400 w/ Detonator Drivers
640x480
33.1 34 43.7
800x600
30 28.6 38.7
1024x768
20 18.7 25.3
1152x864
14.1 13.3 18.7

Conclusion:

These new drivers seem to offer a considerable increase in most situations. These drivers do especially well in the CPU intensive Crusher demo, this would seem to indicate that the new drivers have less overhead, which would free up the CPU to send more information to the video card. These new drivers seem to provide, on average, about a 10 to 25% increase over the drivers that shipped with the Velocity 4400. You can get the new drivers from RivaZone or Tweak3D .

Test Conditions:

Component Product Driver Revision
Processor: Intel Pentium II 400 -
Motherboard: Abit BH6 -
Hard Drive: 8.5GB Maxtor -
RAM: 64MB of Samsung -G8 SDRAM -
Sound Card: Turtle Beach Montego A3DXStream 4.05.112

All tests are performed on Windows 98, with DirectX 6 installed unless otherwise noted. The tests are performed three times each, then averaged together.  All tests are also performed with V-Sync set to off.

 

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