Date Posted: September 19, 2001
It's been a few weeks now that nVidia released their Detonator XP video drivers, driver version number v21.81. Other than performance enhancements, up to 30% - 50% according to nVidia, these drivers officially support Windows XP. The other OSes are supported as well. The following video card chipsets will be supported by the Detonator XPs:
TNT, TNT2/TNT2 Pro, TNT2 Ultra, TNT2 M64/M64 Pro, Vanta/Vanta LT, Aladdin TNT2
GeForce2 Pro, GeForce2 GTS, GeForce2 MX/MX 400/MX 200/MX 100, GeForce2 Ultra
Quadro, Quadro DCC
Quadro2 MXR, Quadro2 Pro, Quadro2 EX
Quite an extensive list. So long as your video card has one of the nVidia chipsets listed above, you can download and use these drivers. Deleting the previous drivers you're using is very important. Removing them via the Add/Remove Programs applet in the Control panel generally works well. If you're really paranoid, follow the steps outlined in the , or download and run the from the .
Before we begin, here are the two test beds:
Viper Box: AMD Thunderbird 1.2, ABIT KT7A-RAID, 512MB PC133, Creative GeForce 2 Ultra
Viper Box II: AMD Thunderbird 1.4, ABIT KG7-RAID, 512MB DDR, MSI StarForce GeForce 3
Both computers are running Windows 2000, Service Pack 2, all the latest sound and chipset drivers. All tests were run 3 times, and the average will be used for comparison.
GeForce 2 Ultra - Quake 3 v1.29h, default HQ, demo four
As we can see, performance increases at 1024x768 resolution and up. There is approxiamately a 4% gain at the higher resolutions. Since I'd imagine most gamers play at 1024 resolution, this is a nice boost. Not much of an improvement mind you, but the extra 4 frames per second are free nevertheless.
GeForce 3 - Quake 3 v1.29h, default HQ, demo four
Like the GeForce 2 Ultra, increases are only realized at the higher resolutions. I was a little perplexed as to why there was a loss at 1024x768. Maybe my PC was tired. I also didn't witness any 30% jump in speed at any resolution, so I don't know about nVidia's claims. Anyhow, the increases of 5% and 16% are nice jumps at 1280 and 1600 respectively, and I'll take them. Anyone who plays at these resolutions will be quite happy.
GeForce 3 - 3D Mark 2001, default 1024, no AA, 16 Bit
GeForce 3 - 3D Mark 2001, default 1024, no AA, 32 Bit
I haven't noticed any strange texture issues with the latest drivers, so that's a big plus. OpenGL performance improved with the new drivers, but Direct 3D performace is really good compared with the previous Detonators. The Detonator XPs definently improve D3D performance. An improvement of over 800 3D Marks at 32 bit colour is certainly noteworthy. If D3D gaming is your thing, you should download and install the latest Detonators now. If not for the speed increase, perhaps the latest drivers may help with any problems you may have with your games.