How powerful is the dreamcast?

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Vgcheat Member
I use a projector for many games consoles so get to see very detailed images of various consoles stretched across a wall and have to say the VGA output of the dreamcast is pretty good. Some games are surprisingly good visually. I gave up using my ps2 with my projector as the visuals were so blocky, full of jaggie lines and very low contrast via component. It just looked awful. Its just not projector friendly. The wii often seems no better than dreamcast and sometimes the dreamcast does a good job of competing visually with the original xbox. Of course the ps3 and 360 show some distance between dreamcast but I'm still impressed with some dreamcast visuals. Dead or Alive 2 still looks visually stunning. Le Mans is very impressive.

It seems to be punching far above its weight. Its only a 100mhz gpu yet sails past the ps2 not in polygons but in resolution and textures. It seems to beat the gamecube and wii for textures much of the time not polygons.

I realise the powervr technology and tile based rendering means the gpu only actually renders what can be seen so all polygons are on screen to see unlike other gpus which render a lot of polygons which are in the background and not seen. What percentage of polygons are wasted on other gpus, 10%, 20%? So for example if the Dreamcast produces 3 million polygons per second, how many polygons does the gamecube have to produce to do the same image, 3.5 million, 4 million, 5 million?

Tile based rendering is also meant to give more consistant frame rates because when a large object obscures the background, the background isn't rendered so you have more consistant speed.

Does this account for why the dreamcast is so competitive or is it the fact it has 8meg of video memory and hardware texture compression. I mean the ps2 only has 4meg of video memory and no texture compression and the gamecube/wii only has 3meg of video memory, 2meg for the frame buffer and 1meg for textures which doesn't seem a lot considering the sega saturn had 1/2meg for textures.

In my experience the dreamcast doesn't compete with the xbox much. I've seen xbox stuff that clearly the dreamcast couldn't attempt. However I've seen games on both dreamcast and ps2 where the dreamcast easily wins visually. Even the wii seems to have some sort of texture memory problem as many games have limited textures or at least simple and repeated textures. Don't get me wrong I've seen wii games with visuals the dreamcast couldn't do but I've also seen wii games that not only look worse than the best dreamcast games but also merely average dreamcast games.





Just curious on people's opinions on dreamcast graphics or have I got it horribly wrong.
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