PowerColor X800 Pro Video Card ReviewFormer staff writer - July 14, 2004
Benchmark 3DCIf you did not read the introdctuion of the review, let me again tell you what 3DC is. 3Dc is optimized to work with normal maps which allows fine per-pixel control over how light reflects from a textured surface. With up to 4:1 compression possible, this means game designers can include up to 4x the detail without changing the amount of graphics memory required and without impacting performance. In a nutshell, it's suppose to provide better looking graphics and faster performance without taking up any extra memory. Wether or not game developers choose to take advtange of the new technology by having it in their games, is a different story. 3DC could be something like "Trueform" which never found its way in to games.
If you take a look at the image above you will see two screenshots, one with 3DC enabled and the other with it disabled. You probably cannot see any image quality difference between the two screenshots, because I know I had somewhat a hard time finding the differences. One thing you may notice right away is the increased frame rate when using 3DC turned on. We got nearly a 20 FPS increase with 3DC turned on, and without any image quality degration! However, ATI says 3DC will actually improve image quality too not just increase performance.
If you take a look at the image above, you will see the same screenshots you saw in the earlier picture but in this picture I have pointed out some key differences between the two screenshots. As you can see the areas where I circled on the screenshot that has 3DC off, the rounded edges of the blocks seem to be "chopped" off than "round" like in the screenshot where 3DC was on.