3D Accelerator Card Reviews

Canopus Total3D

Canopus' Total 3D is another card with NVidia's successful RIVA 128 chip. This chip is currently the fastest Direct3D accelerator, but it also supports TV/video out, video in and some very sophisticated video scaling features. Although Diamond, Elsa and now even Asus announced support for at least the TV out feature, all of these companies are having problems with the quality of the TV signal, due to some flickering problems with the RIVA chip. Canopus is the first company that solved this problem, it's the only company that offers simultaneous monitor and TV output and it supports up to more than 800x600 resolution for the TV out. On top of that the Total 3D is the only RIVA card that also supports a very comfortable video in feature, including picture as well as video capturing with a very sophisticated software.

If you have a look at the Total 3D you'll find that it's looking pretty different to the RIVA products of Diamond, Elsa and Asus, who stayed pretty close to the original reference design of NVidia. This is already a good sign for the work Canopus put into the development of their Total 3D card. On this card you'll find a piggy back card that manages the quality enhancement of the TV out and a Brooktree chip, which does some preparatory work before the video in signal goes into the RIVA 128.

Canopus presented the TV out, video in, video scaling, picture capturing and video capturing feature to me and I was pretty impressed. The features work and the quality is excellent. You don't need to boot your computer with the TV connected and the monitor disconnected to enable the TV out as you have to with the products of the competitors.

All in all this card seems to to have what it takes to become my number one recommendation for a RIVA 128 card, but you may want to wait until I ran the benchmarks as well. I don't expect it to be any slower than all the other RIVA 128 cards, but I wonder if it will live up to Diamond's Viper V330. Maybe the driver is even faster though. However this won't change the fact that this RIVA card blows away all the other cards in terms of features ... this could easily make you able to live with a few 3D Winbench points less than the Viper.