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Falcon Northwest's Talon 1.2 System (Page 3 of 4)

Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
Posted: February 13, 2000

The Test - Continues

3Dmark 2000 Test Results -

All of these tests were performed as follows - D3D software renderer, triple buffering, 16-bit color. As a side note - the only renderer that worked on either systems was the D3D software renderer - I couldn't get the 3D-Now or Athlon optimized renderers to work at all.

Homebuilt Talon Talon Tweaked
640x480 1869 3D Marks 2726 3D Marks 2730 3D Marks
800x600 1861 3D Marks 2693 3D Marks 2695 3D Marks
1024x768 1843 3D Marks 2410 3D Marks 2456 3D Marks

It's interesting to note that there really isn't much difference in scores between the tweaked and untweaked Talon scores until it comes to 1024x768, and even then the deviation isn't really huge - just enough to be noticed. You should also take note that even though I didn't use the Athlon or 3D-Now enhanced renderers, the D3D software renderer itself is actually 3D-Now enhanced - so these scores aren't entirely unskewed.

Quake 3: Arena Results -

This is as close as I can come to an unskewed speed test, because the 3dfx drivers are slightly optimized for 3D-Now. For these tests I had everything turned on except in noted tests (I threw in some A3D enabled/disabled numbers). Also, for this test, because the drivers that came with the system were a bit too old (they weren't properly running the game) I replaced them with the Wicked3D OpenGL drivers. Yes, I know this means that the base Talon isn't entirely untweaked, but the drivers that were installed on the system didn't have all of the features needed to produce a level review. Oh, the demo I used was xero's MonkeyCrusher Die demo. You can pick that up here.

Homebuilt Talon Talon Tweaked
640x480 A3D
No A3D
12.5 fps
17.2 fps
13.6 fps
17.8 fps
18.2 fps
800x600 A3D
No A3D
12.4 fps
17.2 fps
13.6 fps
18.1 fps
18.2 fps
1024x768 A3D
No A3D
12.3 fps
17.1 fps
13.5 fps
18.0 fps
18.1 fps
1280x1024 A3D
No A3D
10.9 fps
14.2 fps
11.9 fps
14.8 fps
15.0 fps

I think this is probably the best overall system speed analysis I've got in this review. There are no phenomenal over bounds by the Athlon processor in this benchmark, but it still came out a little bit ahead (about 3 1/2 %) of my 570 MHz Celeron system. It was also very nice that it illustrates that xero's demo is processor bound up until 1024x768 - which is important for CPU testing purposes.


The sound was, about what I expected - which is not to say it was bad at all. Vortex 2 based cards sound excellent, and considering that I own the exact same model for my system, I knew exactly how well it would fair. Luckily for me, Falcon Northwest also included a set of Cambridge Soundworks FPS2000 digital speakers ($176 dollars to add these speakers to your system). I couldn't test the digital out, but the analog output was very good, although the bass left a little bit to be desired (of course, my current speaker system for my computer includes 9 front channel speakers and a subwoofer - if I get enough requests asking how to set something like that up, I might just write up a guide). Positional sound was excellent, but it takes up quite a bit of processor time, even with the newest Aureal reference drivers (as you can see from the Q3A benchies), which were preinstalled on the system.

Image Quality

Image quality is about what you'd expect out of a Voodoo3 - it was really nice that I could plug this one into my TV though. I didn't get to test out the 19" Optiquest Q95 monitor ($370) because of customs, but from what I've been told by people who own the monitor, its visual quality is quite good.

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