It's now a few weeks after I published the preview of 3Dfx's Voodoo Banshee, NVIDIA's RIVA TNT and S3's Svage3D. Since then I received new and better hardware of two of those as well as a final Millennium G200 from Matrox. Whilst Matrox is already shipping the G200 now and Hercules is planning on shipping their Savage3D card this week, Banshee will stay off the shelves for about another 4 weeks longer. It will take even longer for the RIVA TNT, let alone 3Dlabs' Permedia 3 and Rendition's Verite 3000 series. For now the G200, Banshee and Savage3D are the three new 3D chips that are closest to its final revision so that it makes sense to publish a review rather than a preview of them now.
No News In The 3D Benchmarking Scene
Whilst there has been a lot of motion in the 3D hardware scene in the last few months, the 3D software scene was mainly blessed with Microsoft's recently released DirectX6 and Epic's Unreal game. The benchmarking scene looks even worse, still only leaving the good old game benchmarks to the poor reviewer, maybe with the addition of Ritual's new Sin demo. We have learned that Ziff Davis' 3D Winbench 98 is a great CPU benchmark, but not very useful for 3D card benchmarking. In lack of own ideas they came out with a thing called `Game Gauge', a benchmark that assembles all the game benchmarks that Tom's Hardware Guide was using for the last 6 months, keeping us stuck in the same situation as before. I would like to thank Ziff Davis for the appreciation, showing that consequences were taken
The problem we currently have in regards of 3D benchmarking is that there aren't any games that can take real advantage of DirectX 6 yet. DirectX 6 is for the first time offering a very useful geometry engine to the game developers, so that they don't need to use stuff like e.g. Glide or their own engine anymore. DirectX 6 also offers a whole lot of new 3D features, which are not yet used in any new game, particularly not in any game that would be suitable for benchmarking. This means that the cards cannot be tested under conditions they may meet in a few months from now (August 98), which should be considered as a serious pity.