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Review: Hercules Prophet III

by David Ross on 29 May 2001, 00:00

Tags: Hercules

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qagf

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Introduction

Hercules Prophet III GeForce3

I recently got a product that, I've been waiting for, for a very long time, the Hercules 3D Prophet III GeForce 3, it is the latest and greatest in a long line of Hercules Graphics cards, currently the fastest consumer graphics card around, it has been previewed on the net for the last few months, this is one of the first Hercules GeForce 3, UK reviews to hit the net. As always Hercules put together a very nice package, Blue is a very in colour at the moment and Hercules have again fitted a large blue heat sink and RAM sinks, the PCB is also the cool blue colour. To connect it to the display device Hercules Provide normal SVGA output, Digital out (DVI) and also SVHS out, these 3 connectors will enable you to output all your favourite games and DVD's to a normal monitor, large screen televisions, and also something I saw recently projectors for that really big screen experience.

Some Pictures

The Test Rig

Soltek SL-75KAV (KT 133A)

384MB Crucial PC133 CAS 2 RAM 4 Way Interleave
Athlon 1000MHz AXIA 100Mhz FSB CPU Globalwin FOP38 Heatsink
384MB Crucial PC133 CAS 2 RAM
Hercules Prophet III & GeForce 2 Ultra
IBM GXP22 9.1GB Hard Disc
Pioneer 105S DVD Rom
OcUK Tornado ATX Case

Running on Win98 SE Via 4in1 4.28 NVIDIA Detonator 12.0

The History

The GeForce 3 is the latest in a long line of excellent graphics cards, from NVIDIA the leaders in consumer graphic cards and 3D acceleration. The GF3 features a 3rd Generation GPU, the GPU has all the features of the older GeForce GPU's coupled with hardware FSAA (quincunx) along with FSAA the GeForce 3 also supports Environmental Bump Mapping (EBM) Along with a fully programmable GPU, which has hardware Vertex and Point Sprite facility's, Games available now don't use many of the new features available. EBM which Matrox supported in the G400 series cards is used in a few games, but other than that the new features in the GeForce aren't really used much at all in current games. Just arriving on the scene now are a few benchmarks and some games that use some of the potential of the GeForce 3, 3DMark 2001 is one benchmark that uses the GeForce 3 features, Vulpine's GL Mark 1.1 is another that test's OpenGL performance, in terms of actual games that truly test the GeForce 3's capabilities, right now there really isn't much to choose from. Upcoming titles including Doom 3, and Unreal 2 will be written to utilise the power that the GeForce has.

The GeForce3 Drivers are fully Direct x 8 compatible, offering game designers and programmers the opportunity to use every single dx8 feature they can. Most of the demo's I've seen seem to include some very nice looking water effects, with reflection and refraction of the light, these all add up to a much more realistic scene with very high polygon counts.

As I said previously at the moment there aren't really any games which actually use all the features. The GeForce 3 will still obviously play any current game at a very very high speed, in terms of raw speed in current games such as Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 the GeForce3 runs at similar speeds to the GeForce 2 Ultra. FSAA is one area where the GeForce3 can tower over the GeForce 2 series even in current games, as it uses hardware the GeForce 3 will only really shine when new games come out which fully exploit the GeForce 3 GPU. There are a few games which do use some of the features, these include Dronez, on the benchmark side there are a few 3DMark2001, Vulpine GLMark 1.1. I downloaded Everglade Rush a demo which uses some of the GeForce 3 features, the water effects look pretty spectacular compared with the standard rendered image from a GeForce 2.

The Hardware

The Hercules 3D Prophet III is the graphics card this year that will make every gamer drool, with street prices of around £379, the GeForce 3 takes over where the GeForce 2 Ultra leaves off, it features a 200MHz Core Speed and 460MHz DDR memory, the GPU is a 0.15micron core with a staggering 57 million transistors inside, over twice as many as a Pentium III CPU. Here's a bit of blurb from the Hercules site:

"3D Prophet™ III
Power, acceleration, precision, and flexibility – all wrapped up in a fragging powerhouse. This is the 3D Prophet™ III. Now you can control and dominate in gaming arenas anywhere. NVIDIA®’s enhanced GeForce3™ processor further improves any 3D graphic-pumping game, and with the new Lightspeed Memory Architecture™, gameplay speeds are unsurpassed - even in the highest resolutions. You know you’re looking for the greatest in gaming splendor and glory, so grab hold of the gear that can give it to you."

The tech specs

Ultra-fast 64 MB DDR memory Utilizes Lightspeed Memory Architecture™ for unsurpassed gameplay speeds even in the highest resolutions Incredible 800 Billion operations per second 4 dual-texturing pipelines, mapping 8 texels per clock 31.25 million triangles mapped per second 200 MHz core clock, DDR RAM operating at 460 MHz 4X AGP with Fast Writes support / AGP 2X compatible

Optimal fluidity of photo-realistic 3D objects and geometrically heavy scenes NFinite-FX™ engine enables a new generation of special effects High Resolution, High Frame Rate, Full Scene Anti-Aliasing (FSAA)

DVI-Output for high resolution display on digital monitors TV-Out feature: NTSC & PAL TV output PowerDVD™: A high-quality software DVD-Video Player Full hardware support for OpenGL 1.2 and DirectX8

Well that's the actual hardware specs, there's a lot more to come yet, showing just how powerful the GeForce 3 core is. If you want more detailed specs on just what the GeForce 3 can do click here for NVIDIA's tech specs and rundown on the GeForce 3 GPU and architecture