Tests of New G4s Find Graphic Differences

Lost amid the Macworld Expo hoopla over shiny PowerBooks and OS X ship dates was the news that Nvidia's GeForce 2 MX graphics processor had been added to the Power Mac G4 configuration list. That means you can configure the new shipping G4 towers to include your choice of the Nvidia GeForce 2 MX, ATI Radeon AGP or the older ATI Rage 128 Pro graphics cards

But how do you know which card is right for your Mac? Macworld Lab put each of the cards through rigorous graphical hurdles

A glance at the benchmark shows that for 3D gamers, the Radeon and GeForce cards offer comparable Quake 3 performance, leaving the older Rage 128 Pro in their dust. But the 2D numbers tell quite a different story.

While you won't notice much difference between the three cards when scrolling through Microsoft Office documents, the GeForce 2 MX lags behind both ATI cards in the PDF scroll and Commotion video throughput tests.

All three cards have both VGA and ADC connectors, although you can only use one of the connectors at a time. The GeForce and Radeon both have 32MB of video memory. NVIDIA uses SDRAM (synchronous data RAM) while the Radeon uses the newer and faster DDR-RAM (double data rate RAM). The Rage 128 Pro has 16MB of SDRAM and is standard on the 466MHz G4.

If you opt for the Rage 128 Pro in the 533MHz model, Apple will knock $100 off of the purchase price. Conversely, swapping the Rage with either the Radeon or GeForce will add $100 to your 466MHz G4 checkout total.

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