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The Contestants

Battle of the Titans: Creative Labs Annihilator vs. Leadtek WinFast GeForce 256
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Thus far we have competitive products from Creative Labs and Leadtek that I'll be reviewing. As I receive other boards, I'll post an updated review with the test scores and give you an overview of what the new boards have to offer. For now, I'll concentrate on the 'here and now' with the two boards in the lab. I'll take a close look at what the Creative Labs Annihilator and Leadtek WinFast GeForce 256 have to offer in terms of hardware, bundled software, and overclocking capability.

This is the 3D-Annihilator from Creative LAbs

Creative Labs was the first graphics card manufacturer to release a GeForce product that I know of. As a matter of fact, the GeForce reference board I received from NVIDIA was actually a Creative Labs sample. Creative has a reputation for bringing us top-notch PC sound cards and various multimedia upgrade kits (DVD drives/decoders, Modems, WebCams) but has recently become a reputable name in the PC Graphics cards arena as well. Creative Labs' graphics cards are known for offering a great bang for your buck by not supplying anything fancy, but giving people what they really want at a good price. However, Creative has recently come up with something interesting, a Beta "Unified driver" allows you to run Glide titles with non-3dfx chipsets. Now people who can't live without Glide-titles can run those games on other Creative Labs cards as well. 3Dfx is far from happy about it, but it's certainly a welcome thing to many customers. All things considered, Creative has done well by offering a stable inexpensive board to the masses.

That's what Leadtek's WinFast GeForce256 looks like.

Leadtek, a Taiwanese company, has been around since 1986 offering similar products but also offering Motherboards, LAN cards and video conferencing products. The products manufactured by Leadtek are geared slightly different than Creative's in the sense that they offer a slightly more expensive product in return for feature-richer boards. However, the same principal concept of providing a board without software bundles is something they do have in common with Creative LAbs. Leadtek's GeForce-solution is also based on NVIDIA's reference-design.

The Features

First, lets take a look at the non-GeForce specific features of each card. This lets us see implementation specific differences between the two cards.

Feature Creative Labs Annihilator Leadtek WinFast GeForce 256
On-board memory 32 MB 5.5ns 32 MB 5ns
RAMDAC 350 MHz 350 MHz
Max. Resolution 2048x1536x32 2048x1536x32
AGP 4x? Yes Yes
Video output No TV-out (800x600), DVI (1600x1200)
Active cooling Yes Yes
List Price $249.99 $249.00

Note: Red text signifies a general advantage over the other card.

Looking at the above features, I see that the cards are pretty balanced except when I get to the video output feature. Leadtek has not only equipped its card with a video out but a DVI connection for flat panels as well. This isn't too shabby for no added cost over the Creative Labs board. Another feature difference you will note is the memory speed. Leadtek's Geforce-board is equipped with slightly faster memory, which could give it at least a theoretical advantage, especially when you try to overclock it.

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