Which 3D Card to Buy?

I’ve got a tentative green light from my employers to purchase a new 3D card, and I would like recommendations based on the following:

I am doing R&D stuff, technology demonstrators and such for a new mapping engine which will replace an existing product over the coming few years. The code I write will be targeted to a card which today might be considered high-end consumer, but which will be run-of-the-mill in 12-18 months. There will be tons of texturing, all unique, no tiling, mostly on large quads, with frequent trips out to main memory or the disk to get a new load of textures. Geometry won’t be as critical, nor will lighting and multi-texturing, although in this business, eye-candy does get you noticed, so I wouldn’t want to scrimp on them.

Right now I’ve been on a Voodoo 3 3000 for a year or so. I’m looking at going to a Geforce 2 or 3 with at least 64 MB of texture memory. What I would like is specific recommendations on which vendor and which product has worked well for you. I also would like to hear from anyone who has had bad experiences with their cards; lousy drivers, crappy tech support, missing features, etc.

BTW I did a few searches through the archive for this topic but nothing came up. If this has been addressed recently I’d be happy to see that thread.

Thanks in advance for any info you can suggest.

Mike Metcalf

I have been more than satisfied with my Visiontek GeForce 3 ($399 US). This card seems to be what you are looking for, and it is available now at most PC hardware stores. Also, I’d say that with the current pace of improving 3D hardware, even the GeForce 3 will be… not run of the mill, but certainly common in less than 12 months.

I second Chromebender’s recommendation. I also have a visiontek gf3 and it has performed flawlessly.

– Zeno

Thanks for the suggestion!

I’ve got a sniff on a Visiontek GF3 for $350.00 through ussa.com.

Hopefully I’ll have one in hand by the end of the week.

Thanks again!