WILDCAT VP97031 Jan, 2003 By: Ron LaFon
The Wildcat VP970 is the newest and most capable of a family of four midrange graphics cards from 3Dlabs. Other members of this family vary in price and performance characteristics. They include the VP560, VP760, and the speedy VP870 that we reviewed and recommended in our last graphics card roundup (Cadalyst, October 2002).
The VP970 is an excellent midrange graphics workstation card that can drive two independent high-resolution displays with a mix of analog and digital display options. Dual 10-bit 370MHz RAMDACs provide excellent color representation and eliminate many distracting display artifacts.
The Wildcat VP970 includes an installation guide, a DVI-to-VGA adapter, a driver CD-ROM, and a bonus CD-ROM that includes a virtual desktop manager to manage multiple-monitor displays. Warranty coverage from 3Dlabs is a fairly common three years.
With a relatively modest price, this graphics card is an excellent and relatively economical choice for an entry-level CAD workstation. The VP970s price and performance value makes it a popular choice for a broad range of uses and applications. From personal experience, I know that 3Dlabs updates drivers regularly and offers outstanding technical support.
Even though the Wildcat VP970 is designed to be tucked away inside the computer case, its attractive design indicates an attention to detail evident in both the graphics card and in the stable drivers available for it. The VP970 supports the emerging OpenGL 2.0 specification (prototype drivers are available on request to software developers) and will support Microsofts HLSL high-level shading language. It is capable of driving an analog monitor at 204832048 at 60MHz in 32-bit color and a digital monitor at 192031200 at 60MHzalso in 32-bit color.
System-level drivers support Windows 98/ME/2000/XP. An accelerated driver is available for and tested with discreet 3ds max. See the feature table for performance figures.
Running AutoCAD? Test Your Hardware! Designed to test and compare the performance of systems running AutoCAD, Cadalyst's Benchmark Test is a popular and long-time favorite.