As I stated before, the graphics controller on the MVP4 chipset nearly doubles the measurable performance of the SiS530 2D/3D graphics engine. This should in no way lead you to believe that the performance is anywhere near that of today's modern stand-alone graphics chips, but rather assure you of better than adequate business graphics capabilities and also offer the ability to actually experience 3D graphics applications on a limited level.
The Apollo MVP4 Graphics Controller is a fully integrated CRT and TV 64-bit 2D/3D
Accelerator. The high performance graphics engine offers high speed 3D image processing in
full compliance and compatibility with IBM® VGA and VESA extended VGA. As an
integrated controller, it allows unprecedented cost and performance advantages by
eliminating the need for an external frame buffer while at the same time gaining local
access to a larger amount of memory. Many functions can now be eliminated that previously
consumed large amounts of bandwidth.
Although the MVP4 specification support AGP X2, in order to achieve the X2 frequency you will need to load the newest VIA AGP.vxd version 3.3 before installing the chipset's graphics drivers. This new .vxd is not the one that accompanies the MVP4 Service Pack that comes on the system board's driver's disk. To be completely honest, I was unable to get better than a 2% performance increase in any application using AGP X2 and, at this level of performance it hardly seems worth the effort.
The Internal Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) Controller housed within the Northbridge of the MVP4 offers the following capabilities
And the graphics controller offers the following:General Graphic Capabilities
The EP-MVP4A offers great business graphics if you keep the resolution at 1024x768 or below. Crisp, clear edges, good font smoothing and smooth Windows animations capabilities help to assure that working in business applications keep eye strain to a minimum. Using Ziff-Davis WinBench 99 the EP-MVP4A generated the following business and high end graphics marks at 1024x768x16: (System Specifications will be outlined a bit further on.)
Incorporating Trident's 8500 rCADE3D Graphics Accelerator, a lightweight version of the Blade3D graphics chip, the MVP4 chipset offers the user the ability to experience 3D graphics with the following capabilities:
The EP-MVP4A's graphics drivers could use a bit of fine tuning. I was unable to get the OpenGL ICD to function properly however, using Trident's latest Blade3D drivers, downloaded from their website, I was able to use the Default OpenGL setting in Quake II without any difficulties whatsoever. If you're hoping for high frame rates in OpenGL and D3D applications, I'm sorry to break the news that you'll be sorely disappointed. Even using the higher shared system memory setting of 8MB of frame buffer allocated, the EP-MVP4A could only garner around 18 FPS in Quake II at 800x600 and 13.50 FPS in the Unreal Flyby at 800x600 using the AMD K6-2 400MHz processor and 64MB of system memory.
Many of you are, no doubt, well aware of the benchmark scores that the newest graphics cards are capable of. So, for comparison I have included the following scores rendered against Futuremark's 3D Mark 99 MAX graphics benchmarking application running at a resolution of 800x600x16:
While the rendering speed in 3D applications is nothing to write home about the image quality is actually quite good -
3D Mark 99 MAX offers pretty good image quality tests and below you'll see some of the trouble areas in the MVP4's rendering:
The texturing is actually pretty good considering that the the graphics frame buffer resides in system memory. Bilinear filtering appears just a bit blocky and alpha blending gets a slight banding effect. Apart from these minor annoyances the overall 3D graphics quality is quite good