I think it makes more sense to use 3d hardware for an isometric engine.
At its core, a '3d card' is just a triangle rasterizer (The new GPU's that are comming out this month are closer to the term '3d card').
And it makes sense to me, that an Isometric tile is better represented by 2 triangles than 1 rectangle.
at its heart, a 2d card is just a 'memory chunk mover', and most 2d cards have absolutely NO penalty for transparent blitting (as opposed to full blitting). Isometric engines need to do transparent blitting a lot more than square engines.
now, you may say that since there is no penalty, there is really no reason to go to a 3d card based approach.
I disagree. Even though I have long been an advocate of plotlines, rather than special effects of games, I think that lighting and alpha features can greatly increase the ambiance (or 'mood' if you will) of a game.
That is where a 3d card comes in. I am pretty sure that a 3d card can rasterize a lot more triangles than a 2d card can blit rectangles, and also apply lighting and alpha with little or no loss of performance.
Now, i have heard the argument that 3d cards lose graphic information when rasterizing triangles. But I don't agree with it at all when using the method i'm talking about. You can tell D3d or OGL exactly how to render the triangle, so that no quality is lost.
So, what do you people think about using 3d hardware to make an ISO game?