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  The GeForce 4, The Pentium 4, and IDF 
  Feb 23, 2002, 11:29am EST 
By: Dan Mepham

Good morning, everyone. I hope everyone’s doing well, and enjoying the last little bit of the Olympics before they come to a close. I know I’ve enjoyed watching, so congratulations to all the athletes. Even those who may not come home with a medal have a lot to be proud of.

As you may or may not be aware, IDF is just around the corner, and Sander is on his way there as we speak. He’ll hopefully be able to get some pictures and news up for you as the forum plays out. As an additional note, I received some great feedback regarding the Pentium 4/DDR scaling article I posted a couple weeks ago, and so I’ve decided to go ahead with an updated second part. Part Two will include benchmarks from Northwood processors (to observe the effect of the extra L2 cache on scaling and reliance on memory), as well as benchmarks from an RDRAM platform as well. Look for that in a couple weeks.

Lastly, I’d like to post the results from the mini-survey I presented regarding the GeForce 4 a while ago. After sifting through a pile of emails (thanks to everyone who mailed in), here’s what you all said:

1. Are you less excited/interested in the GeForce 4 than you have been about previous video card launches?

The general consensus here was almost a unanimous yes. A couple people hadn’t even realized the GeForce 4 had been launched until they read that column. Most saw the launch, but looked upon it with little interest. In any case, the general level of interest was much lower than that of previous launches, such as the original GeForce 256 or GeForce 2.

2. Have you read any of the reviews of the GeForce 4 around the web?

Most of you had read a review or two, but really more as a passing glance than as a genuine interest. Somewhat to my surprise, very few of you seemed overly interested in the technical details of the card. Most went and glanced quickly at benchmarks, and that was about it. Many of you were also scouring pages for pricing details, which is certainly a valid concern.

One issue that was mentioned more than a couple times was the lack of discussion of cards’ 2D capabilities. Most of the reviews out there focus almost entirely on 3D performance, and while there is a very small bit of 3D image quality discussion (FSAA and such) there’s generally a complete lack of discussion of 2D image quality.

3. Are you considering buying a GeForce 4?

The responses to this one were somewhat more varying than the other questions. There were, actually, a fair number of you interested in buying one. However, the comments can be summarized as follows; anyone with a GeForce 3 (which wasn’t a large number), and most people with a GeForce 2 of any sort almost always said no. The ones interested in buying were those using older GeForce 256s, Voodoos, etc.. There was a definite generation-gap mentality among respondents, as most people either lack the necessary funds, or are beginning to see a lack of need to constantly upgrade to the latest technology. I thought one person put it rather well; “Upgrading nowadays is not a fun experience. You blow hundreds of dollars, only to have your investment become second-rate in a matter of weeks. Why would I want to go through that on *every* product cycle?”.

As well, of those of you who were interested in a GeForce 4, virtually no one felt a need to have one right now. Almost all of you felt that, if you were going to buy, it was smarter to wait a few weeks/months until the prices fall out of the Stratosphere, at which point you’re likely to get a much better bargain.

Once again, more than a few of you were concerned with the 2D quality of the card, and, for lack of evidence to the contrary, felt it safer to stick with your G550s. And if you don’t do anything 3D, why not?

4. How would you feel if nVidia delayed its next launch (deviated from the 6 month cycle)?

Again, I got some mixed responses to this one. The general overtone seemed to be that, on a personal level, no one would really mind. Most of you are skipping at least two or three generations when you buy anyway, so you wouldn’t really miss it. However many of you argued that from a competitive standpoint, that would not be a good idea. Getting to the top, then getting lazy is what Intel and 3dfx did, and it caused Intel a great deal of grief over the last three years, and cost 3dfx its existence.

I really don’t think there’s an easy answer to that one. However, it was clear from your emails that the general level of interest is dropping, despite nVidia’s PR blitzkrieg strategy, and that’s not a good thing for the company.

We’ll be doing more of this type of reader survey in the future.

Dan Mepham


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