When NVIDIA originally announced the plans to include hardware transformation and lighting acceleration in the design for their GeForce 256, it was speculated that owners of value systems would see the most performance gain. Since the processor would be doing less work on the 3D pipeline, fewer applications would be CPU limited, and frame rates would increase. Of course this was theoretical, and real-world scenarios did not always turn out so optimistically, but low-end systems did see some semblance of a boost.
Six months later, the GeForce2 (or infamous NV15, as it was called) made its way onto the market. Boasting a "second generation T&L engine," the GeForce2 offered impressive performance gains over the first generation chip due mainly to a die shrink, providing for the same T&L engine to be clocked 80MHz faster and updated drivers that allow for texture compression by default. Despite the truckload of marketing babble that accompanied the launch, the GeForce2 has done its job, and is currently the fastest consumer desktop solution available.
Most high-end video cards accompany comparably powerful CPUs. However, we thought it would be interesting to see what kind of benefit a GeForce2 could bestow upon a "value-oriented" system. Is gaming just as viable on a Celeron or Duron as it is on one of the GHz beasts we use in our test machines? We are betting an ASUS V7700 Deluxe on it.