|The Fire GL 1000 Pro was together with ATI's XPERT
cards one of the first AGP cards available. It's using 3DLabs' Permedia
2 chip and comes with 8 MB onboard SGRAM. Since its first release the drivers
have improved a lot, particularly improving the performance in 3D Winbench
3DLabs are known for their OpenGL accelerating products
and the Permedia 2 chip is no exceptionto this rule. It's the only one
of all the currently released new 3D chips that has a really good OpenGL
performance, which makes this chip kinda unique. Although the good OpenGL
support as well as the very good 2D performance will mainly appeal the
professional user, the Direct3D performance of the Fire GL 1000 Pro is
pretty impressive, making it the number 3 closely behind cards with NVidia's
RIVA 128 and ATI's Rage Pro chip. It's price is lower than a Matrox Millennium
II with 8 MB RAM, which makes this card very attractive for any user.
The only real disadvantage of this card is the lack
of 'alpha transparency' support. This makes e.g. the city scene of Final
Reality look really pretty awful. The Permedia 2 chip also doesn't support
'fog table', but this is a feature hardly ever used. As long as games use
'color key transparency', you won't notice the lack of 'alpha transparency'
either, but even the black smoke in Motoracer is already a hint that games
are using this feature.
If you look at price/performance you'll find out
that ATI's XPERT cards are closest to the Fire GL 1000 Pro. If you want
to make a decision between these two unequal felows you'll have to decide
what's more important to you. Excellent OpenGL support or excellent 3D
image quality. For people that use OpenGL applications, the ATI cards won't
be an option. However, the Fire GL 1000 Pro is certainly no good solution
for systems with weak CPUs, because then the ATI XPERT as well as the Diamond
Stealth II leave it quite a bit behind in 3D Winbench.
All in all is Diamond's Fire GL 1000 Pro a very attractive
high end card, with good Direct3D support, average 3D image quality, great
OpenGL performance and very good 2D performance. This is the right card
for professional users who like playing games, like e.g. myself. If you
can spend the money, why not getting a 3Dfx card as well? This is probably
the perfect solution.
3D Image Quality
Motoracer: You can see the blocky road texture, no
good linear filtering and dithering.
Final Reality Benchmark: Look at the exhausts of
the rockets, there's a black area around it. This is the missing alpha
transparency feature. Note the cross, which looks fine, since the Permedia
2 supports tri-linear filtering. However, also no cloud/fog visible.