ELSA Erazor X and Absolute Multimedia Outrageous 3D GeForce Review

Driver Interface - Outrageous 3D, Continued

If you need to adjust your color settings, this is the place to do so. You have the option to save color schemes if you wish to.

Tweaking the D3D is possible through the D3D properties window. You also have the option to enter even more D3D setting window from here as well.

Here are our additional D3D settings that I had mentioned before. It's just a couple more tweaks available to you.

In the event that you hook up your video out, you are provided with some video out options.

After clicking on device settings in the previous window, you jump into this one that lets you make adjustments to your output video.

Overall the O3D driver interface provides you with the really simple settings and feature controls. If you want more control over things or fancy information screen on overclocking, heat monitoring or monitor settings, you'll have to use something like PowerStrip or get a card with a better driver interface. The O3D definitely needs work in this area.

If you wish to review what the other GeForce card drivers look like, here are the links:

A few more notes to make after looking over all the OEM drivers is that some people may prefer some of the available settings over the other. Also, some OEM drivers do have functional advantages like overclocking or health monitoring tools that you may want. Lastly, one HUGE advantage that Creative Labs has over the competition is their Glide D3D wrapper in the form of what they call a Unified driver. This may come in handy for those legacy Glide only games or premier game demos that for some reason come out in Glide only initially.

Competing Chipsets

Currently there are a couple of new chipsets amongst a list of aging chipsets that have been offered. Let's take a look at each company at a glance.

3dfx has been sitting on the VD3 3500 for quiet some time now as they've been having difficulties pushing its latest chipset out the door. Still, the Voodoo3-based cards are the best choice for Glide-games, as e.g. the brand new Ultima 9. In the next few months we should be seeing some exciting news from it but until then, its best product is very limited compared to the competition. I'll definitely keep my eyes peeled for the next 3dfx line of products.

ATI has been pretty busy lately, as it has just released the Rage Fury MAXX not too long ago. This beast has shown some great potential and with the proper driver tuning and some weight loss on the price, it just might offer some stiff competition. Until that time, however, it still remains are an under performing card for the price. Future versions of this card are rumored to have a T&L engine integrated to match the awesome fill-rate performance.

Diamond/S3 also has a new weapon in their arsenal also known as the Diamond Viper II . This bad boy is probably the best bet for those wanting to give another chipset a shot in the time being. The drivers would use a little bit of polishing and the hardware T&L enabling driver would be a huge plus as well. The card shows some nice fill-rate and texturing performance but without drivers to back it up, this card might not be so attractive. Beefier versions of the Viper II are rumored to be just around the corner as well as a T&L enabled driver. We'll keep you posted.

Matrox is still standing behind their G400 series of cards that seem to be selling very well although they're not the best performing cards, they are backed by good drivers and solid support from Matrox. Dualhead video output is another cool feature that Matrox has on their side as well. Not too much information on what their upcoming products will be offering but we'll keep you informed.

Finally, we don't want to forget NVIDIA itself. Some information about GeForce's successor has already leaked on the web, so that many of you may already know that NVIDIA won't have any reason to fear Voodoo4/5 whatsoever. The stuff NVIDIA has up its sleeves will make sure that by the time the competition has caught up with Geforce, the next product(s) will continue to lead the pack in the PC-graphics arena by a rather comfortable margin.

As we look at the competition, there really isn't a fast enough solution to keep up with the GeForce 256 based board in general. A couple of the competing boards are in the same ballpark in regards to performance as the SDR GeForce but don't take top honors overall because of price and/or driver issues. Currently the GeForce chipset is still the best solution with its high fill-rate performance, hardware T&L and solid driver performance.

Benchmark Expectations

As all the cards are using the same chipset and only vary in the memory type they use, I don't expect to see any cards faster than the other (when comparing similarly configured cards). The DDR GeForce boards will skyrocket past the SDR boards in high resolution/color benchmarks. You will not see a dramatic difference in performance unless you have a card that is overclocked or is equipped with DDR memory.

Overclocking

I went ahead and gave it a shot overclocking both of our new test boards with good success. The Erazor X has a pretty nice cooling solution but didn't let me drastically overclock the device like you might think. As for the O3D board, it had a very easy time being pushed past its normal limits. I would like to note that all of the DDR based boards I've worked with have had a tendency to be able to clock their cores very high. I hear through the grapevine that DDR based GeForce cards do in fact have newer versions of the GeForce chip but that's not officially verified to my knowledge. Keep in mind that when overclocking you are shortening the life span of your device and at these heat levels it is possible to kill a board quickly. The GeForce 256 isn't a low power GPU and it will get very hot, very fast.

Benchmark Setup

Hardware Information
CPU PIII 550
Motherboard (BIOS rev.) ABIT BX6 2.0 (BIOS date 7/13/99)
Memory 128 MB Viking PC100 CAS2
Network Netgear FA310TX
Driver Information
Absolute Multimedia Outrageous 3D 4.12.01.0362
Asus AGP-V6600 Deluxe 4.12.01.0362
Creative Labs Annihilator 4.12.01.2202.01.0348
ELSA Erazor X 4.12.01.0100-002
Leadtek WinFat GeForce 256 SDR/DDR 4.12.01.0353
Environment Settings
OS Version Windows 98 SE 4.10.2222 A
DirectX Version 7.0
Quake 3 Arena Retail version
command line = +set cd_nocd 1 +set s_initsound 0
Shogo V2.14
Advanced Settings = disable sound, disable music, disable movies, disable joysticks,
enable optimized surfaces, enable triple buffering, enable single-pass multi-texturing
High Detail Settings = enabled
Fortress Demo
Descent III Retail version
Settings = -nosound -nomusic -nonetwork -timetest
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