Reply 40 of 45, by ragefury32
diagon_swarm wrote on 2020-03-21, 19:45:
VW 320 was far more interesting product than 540 (540 had just more PCI-X slots and doubled number of CPU slots). You could get VW 320 under $4,000 and get 3D and geometry performance comparable with $10,000 workstations (3D core is exactly the same in 320 and 540). That was not a bad deal. In addition to it, the texture fill-rate was superior to any PC workstation card available at that time. Btw, I've measured many professional cards from the 90s - http://swarm.cz/gpubench/_GPUbench-results.htm (it's not in an easily readable form but provides multiple useful details ) ... the hi-res texture performance was bad with Intergraph and 3Dlabs products.
Rage LT - That's what I think, but I have never found evidence to support it (other that I haven't found any other laptop with this chip... but that could be like EGA-equipped laptops... I thought that only few were made and then I found a lot of them from both - well-known brands and OEMs).
Savage4 - I'm not sure about that. The info I found was always very fuzzy. I just know that when I tested the chip by myself, the per-clock performance was perfectly comparable with desktop Savage4. If you have relevant sources, I would be happy to read about this.
From what I remember, the Cobalt architecture is similar to the O2 (also a UMA setup)- that is, the geometry is done on the CPUs, and then the onboard chips of the Cobalt chipset takes care of texture mapping, mip-mapping and some codec decompression. That's why I bought up Pro/E versus, say, texture mapping on a video. If your task at hand is to work on CAM/CAD related stuff, you pretty much want as much CPU horsepower as possible (upgrading SGI O2s from R4ks to an R12K would significantly boost the performance of the rendering pipeline)...and that's why the 320 (1-2 socket instead of 4 max) is such a niche product. If you want to do CAD/CAM you probably do not want it since you want as many cores driving the 3D pipeline as possible. If you do broadcast graphics (where you are mapping video streams on a simple 3D mesh) it'll probably be something you want.
I doubt that the RageLT (the PCI version, not the Rage Pro LT, which is a different animal and really common) were found on many of the earlier laptops, at least not the mainstream ones. Neomagic and S3 (and to a certain extent C&T/Trident) dominated the field back then. My guess with the appearance of the RageLT on the Mainstreet/Wallstreets was that ATi (back then just a small graphics ASIC provider north of Toronto, certainly not the "red team" juggernaut going up against nVidia in later years) were willing to work with Apple to ship PowerPC/MacOS based drivers for their machines (the Rage II+ were found in the original iMacs as well), while Neomagic and S3 were not.
As for the Savage IX, here's a rather recent writeup regarding its capabilities -> https://b31f.wordpress.com/2019/10/24/s3-savage-ix-on-trial/. My own (not very scientific) comparisons between my Dell Latitude C600 (ATi Rage 128 Mobility/M4) and the Thinkpad T21 (Savage/IX 😎 seem to suggest that the Savage were a little behind the M4 in most benchmarks but still a decent performer at 800x600 resolutions for most games made before 2001. For me the Savage was more valued for decent compatibility with DOS VESA games.